Donald Trump is at least partially to blame for Republican Martha McSally’s loss to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the November 6 midterm election, according to an internal Arizona GOP memo. And as KNXV-TV (Phoenix) reports, the memo also blames the memory of John McCain, a damaging primary cycle, and the old foe of politicians everywhere: being outspent by her opponent.
The memo, obtained by the Washington Post, says that “hostility” to Donald Trump in Arizona Republicans played a role in McSally’s loss.
“A significant segment of the AZ GOP was hostile to the President.”
As CNBC reported at the time, Trump endorsed McSally back in August after what the network called a “bruising” primary.
“Martha McSally is an extraordinary woman. She was a very talented fighter jet pilot and is now a highly respected member of Congress. She is Strong on Crime, the Border and our under siege 2nd Amendment. Loves our Military and our Vets. Has my total and complete Endorsement!”
Whether or not Trump’s endorsement helped or hurt McSally remains largely a matter of opinion. But as the memo goes on further to point out, one thing is abundantly clear to the Arizona Republican leadership: The Republican Party in the Copper State is not the same since John McCain died. The stalwart Republican oft clashed with Donald Trump before dying last August at the age of 81.
And McSally’s opponent associated herself with John McCain, not Donald Trump.
— 12 News (@12News) November 28, 2018
“Sinema hugged McCain tightly, and never once had the word ‘Democrat’ in a TV advertisement.”
And of course, no politician is going to go anywhere in this political climate without a significant reserve of money, and McSally spent most of hers in the primary cycle, fighting off state legislator Kelli Ward and Sheriff Joe Arapaio, in what the memo describes as an “ideologically divisive battle.” Left with little money after the primaries, Sinema was easily able to outspend McSally.
McSally, for her part, released a memo of her own in which she spelled out the reasons for her loss to Sinema. As the Arizona Republic writes in an op-ed piece, McSally seemingly blamed everyone but herself for her loss. Specifically, she blamed Democrat donor George Soros and New York Senator Chuck Schumer for funding her opponents.
“National Democratic money enabled pro-Sinema forces to be able to begin attacking McSally during the Republican primary in August, with Soros and Schumer funded entities spending over a million dollars attacking McSally while she was still enmeshed in a tough GOP primary.”
Krysten Sinema will represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate when the 116th Congress convenes in January.