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Martha McSally's struggling campaign gets confused about who her opponent is

The Arizona Republican’s campaign mistakenly used a photo of her opponent’s twin brother in an ad.

By Daniel Boguslaw - October 20, 2020
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Sen. Martha McSally

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) is facing an uphill battle to retain her Senate seat against Democratic opponent Mark Kelly.

To add to the Arizona Republican’s headaches, McSally’s reelection campaign recently created an ad that accidentally used a picture of Kelly’s twin brother, Scott Kelly, the Tucson Sentinel reported.

The twin brothers are both retired U.S. astronauts and engineers. Scott Kelly is now a private citizen, while his brother, Mark Kelly, is running to unseat McSally in the Senate.

The McSally campaign’s latest attack ad used a photo of Scott Kelly giving a thumbs up, and accused Mark Kelly of being “a counterfeit.” Kelly (the Democratic candidate) is a former U.S. Navy captain who is married to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

Polls show Kelly leading McSally by 11 points in the Arizona Senate race.

The mix-up wasn’t the first time McSally has drawn scrutiny for faulty advertising. In April, McSally’s campaign ran a television ad featuring a woman named Kristen Douglas, who was identified in the ad only as a “cancer survivor.”

“Martha McSally will fight tirelessly to make sure that people with preexisting conditions are insured,” Douglas said in the emotional campaign ad. “She’s fighting for what’s right when it comes to preexisting conditions, and making sure everybody has access to health care.”

But the McSally campaign failed to disclose that Douglas is also McSally’s former campaign manager, and that Douglas earned at least $381,000 for her work with McSally over the years.

Counter to Douglas’ testimony in the ad, McSally’s Senate voting record shows she has voted with her fellow Republicans time and time again to strip coverage from people with preexisting conditions.

McSally’s history of shady campaign dealings don’t just include her campaign ads. McSally has a history of taking illegal contributions from a host of donors exceeding the maximum individual limit monitored by the FEC.

In 2019, McSally’s campaign committee was forced to pay $23,400 in fines and return at least $120,000 in campaign contributions after the Federal Election Commission found that McSally had taken $319,000 in excess campaign contributions from 117 people during her 2014 House campaign.

Earlier this month, the election commission sent McSally’s campaign two letters alleging that she took illegal donations from more than 60 donors, including a businessman who plead guilty to fraud charges in 2010.

As Donald Trump continues to face grim polling numbers, McSally has refused to say whether she is proud of her support for Trump. McSally has voted in line with Trump 94% of the time, according to 538.

As McSally’s campaign has grown more desperate, she has pleaded with donors to save her political career.

At an event in August, McSally asked supporters to skip a meal and donate to her campaign instead. A spokesperson for McSally later said she was “making a joke.”

“We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out. But it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be,” McSally said on a recording of the event obtained by Arizona’s Family.

Last week, Kelly wrote about his decision to reject corporate PAC money in his race against McSally.

“I believe that this Senate race is about people, not special interests,” Kelly wrote on his campaign website. “I wanted to take the first step to ensure that the voices of Arizonans are heard loud and clear. When I say this is a people-powered campaign, I mean it.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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