First female combat pilot Martha McSally beats Ward, Arpaio for Flake’s senate seat in Arizona primary

DCNFVandana Rambaran, DCNF

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Republican Rep. Martha McSally pulled ahead of two other candidates on Tuesday with a landslide primary victory, earning herself a shot at becoming Arizona’s first female senator.

McSally won the nomination with 51.4 percent of the vote, beating out Dr. Kelli Ward who got 28.6 percent and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio who took 20 percent of votes, The New York Times reported Tuesday at the time the race was called. McSally will face off against Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the November midterm race, who won 82.4 percent of the vote against her progressive opponent Deedra Abboud.

McSally, the first female combat pilot in American history, campaigned on issues such as immigration reform and combating the country’s opioid epidemic. None of the Republican candidates received President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

She stands to replace Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who decided not to run for reelection because it would require him to shift his position on key issues such as immigration reform and trade. He also does not feel he could win over primary voters in “the president’s party,” Flake told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

“I think McSally will win. I hope she does. That’s the only shot that obviously Republicans have to hold onto the seat, but it’s even difficult then. This is gonna be a hard fought general election,” Flake, who’s clashed with Trump, said.

Despite clinching the nomination ahead of Ward and Arpaio, both whom aligned themselves closely to Trump and positioned themselves as conservative hardliners, McSally still faces an uphill battle for the Senate seat. Sinema, who has most recently polled ahead of McSally by 5 points, according to a recent poll by Real Clear Politics in a theoretical match-up, presenting an opportunity for Democrats to pick up the seat for a chance of taking control of the Senate in November.

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