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Video formally launches Sen. Martha McSally’s 2020 campaign

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republican Martha McSally on Tuesday formally launched her campaign in one of the most hotly contested U.S. Senate races of the 2020 election.

McSally has been hiring staff, raising money and campaigning for nearly a year but officially kicked off her election bid with a video posted to her social media accounts.

The 3 1/2-minute video offers a preview of McSally’s message in the coming months.

She discusses hardships in her life including her father’s death during her childhood and being sexual assaulted when she was in the Air Force, which she disclosed for the first time during a Senate hearing last year.

McSally in the video also said Congress must lower prescription drug prices, tackle the opioid epidemic, halt the flow of drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border and improve mental health care for veterans.

The video showcases people with health conditions vouching for her commitment to providing health care — a retort to months of attacks from Democrats and their allies who claim McSally can’t be trusted to ensure people with preexisting conditions continue receiving health care coverage.

McSally’s critics point to her repeated votes to repeal former President Barack Obama’s health care law, including its requirement for insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions.

McSally is widely expected to win the Republican nomination and is likely to face Democrat Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in an attempted assassination in 2011.

The winner will finish the last two years of the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s final term in office before running for re-election in 2022.

McSally is seen as one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents after she lost the 2018 race for Arizona’s other Senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

Once a staunchly Republican state, Arizona has grown more moderate as many suburban women turned against President Donald Trump.

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