Rising GOP Star, First Female Fighter Pilot Announces Bid

Rep. Martha McSally announced on Friday that she will run for Senate in Arizona, giving Republicans a top-tier recruit in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake.

McSally made the announcement in a short video posted to YouTube and has a series of events planned across the state later in the day — including two at airplane hangars in Phoenix and Tucson that promise to make heavy reference to her biography as the first woman to be an Air Force combat pilot.

The second-term congresswoman is the second GOP candidate to declare for the seat this week, joining former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump last year after his conviction for ignoring court orders while sheriff. Kelli Ward — the state lawmaker who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. John McCain from the right in the 2016 primary — is also in the race.

Despite McSally’s stature in Washington — and her heavy recruitment by GOP leaders — she is not a guaranteed front-runner for the party’s nomination. Her internal polling before Arpaio’s entry showed her running neck-and-neck with Ward, and a flash survey after Arpaio’s announcement this week showed the three candidates all running between 25 percent and 31 percent.

Read more at Politico.

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