Martha McSally launches Senate campaign in heated GOP race

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The plane honors a connection to the female pilots who trained in World War II and delivered warplanes to combat assignments.

It seems the main significance she now ascribes to that accomplishment is as a testament to her toughness - you know, the kind of toughness her new friend the president of the United States displays in taking on "PC politicians and their BS excuses".

"I'm a fighter pilot and I talk like one", she says. "I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done", McSally said in the video. She retired in 2010 as a full-bird colonel.

McSally is the second notable entrant to the race this week, following Sheriff Joe Arpaio's somewhat surprising Tuesday announcement that he, too, would be entering the primary. Kelli Ward and notorious former Maricopa County, Ariz. McSally, who has been perceived by those handicapping the race as the Republican establishment's top choice, appears instead to be catering to a more conservative primary electorate.

The Arizona election will showcase the explosive feud between the Republican Party's establishment and its hardline anti-immigration wing - all in a border state that features the nation's fourth largest Hispanic population. "After eight years of fighting, I won my battle for the religious freedom of American servicewomen".

McSally, a two-term congresswoman already backed by many GOP leaders in Arizona and Washington, announced her candidacy in a fiery video that touched on border security and Sharia law. She's a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, the political home for moderately conservative officeholders. But it's very definitely a sign of the times, and of the futility within today's Republican Party of Flake's efforts to defend traditional conservatism against Trump.

Little more than a year ago, McSally refused to endorse Trump, and she referred to his sexually predatory comments caught on the "Access Hollywood" tape as "disgusting".

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Ward, who has been backed by former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon, has framed her campaign as an extension of Trump's "America First agenda", although that could be more hard now that Trump is feuding with Bannon.

Democrats have recruited Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., for the race, a capable fundraiser whom party officials see as a formidable candidate for the seat.

Later, she refused to condemn Trump's closed-door description of African countries as "shitholes".

Several Republican political consultants said Arpaio's prolific fundraising and strong name recognition could marginalize Ward's campaign, which has targeted the same bloc of Trump voters.

Democrats have eyed the seat since Flake announced his retirement, in their bid this year to eliminate Republicans' 51-49 Senate majority and take control of the chamber.

The primary is not until August 28.

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