In Red Arizona, Disdain For Trump May Elect Democratic Senator

In Red Arizona, Disdain For Trump May Elect Democratic Senator

Reprinted with permission from

The latest poll of the Arizona Senate race is out, and it is very bad news for the GOP. The numbers suggest Trump is poisonous in the state — and taking Republican candidates down with him.

According to OH Predictive Insights/ABC15, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema trounces all three major GOP competitors in the race to fill retiring Republican Jeff Flake’s Senate seat. She leads Rep. Martha McSally 48 to 42, former state Sen. Kelli Ward 50 to 40, and disgraced ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio 59 to 33.

Sinema is a fascinating candidate in her own right: a bisexual former Ironman athlete who spent her early childhood living in an abandoned gas station in Florida, and grew up to be a social worker and defense attorney before going into politics.

But Sinema’s charisma might not be the only reason for her polling strength. The poll also suggests the Republicans are hurt by voters’ disapproval of Trump, who is viewed unfavorably among all voters 56 to 43, and among independents by a whopping 74 to 25.

Arizona’s Senate seat is open, thanks to Flake’s decision to retire rather than face a difficult re-election campaign. Before his departure, polls showed Sinema beating Flake too. But at least there, the GOP could have written that off as Flake being widely regarded as too disloyal to Trump, despite supporting Trump’s agenda.

And to be fair, none of Arizona’s current GOP Senate candidates need Trump’s help to be toxic.

McSally championed tax cuts for millionairestaking health care from poor people, and was caught planting fake social media posts praising herself.

Ward favors exiting the U.N. and arresting anyone who enforces federal gun laws. She recently mocked military service while campaigning with a Nazi sympathizer.

And Arpaio is an outspoken birther who ran what he called prisoner “concentration camps” in the desert outside Phoenix, and was convicted of criminal contempt of court for racial discrimination.

But one thing all of these candidates have in common is their shameless attempts to claim the mantle of Trump. The Republican primary has become a contest over who is the most authentic Trump disciple. That all three of these candidates are down in polls signals that Trump support is not an asset.

After just a year in office, Trump is threatening to do what decades of Democratic strategists only dreamed of: turn Arizona blue.


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Tim Scott
Sen. Tim Scott

Watching Tim Scott's announcement speech, I was struck by how differently I would have responded to his message 10 years ago. In 2013 I wrote: "It's to their credit that Republicans are obsessed with getting the government to address its unconscionable and unmanageable debt, freeing up the productive private sector to create economic growth and maintaining the nation's military preeminence."

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