Martha McSally

It is a well-known fact that those who spend the most money often win the election. If this bears out, then McSally has already lost.

There is no way to spin the recent developments for Arizona GOP Senator Martha McSally. It’s horrible news and predicting more trouble ahead for the embattled “incumbent.”

The latest poll figures show McSally trailing her opponent by five points, down from her one-point lead in May. An ad campaign is attacking her vote on healthcare, her opponent is proving a better fundraiser, and we are still more than a year away from the 2020 General Election.

There is much more at stake than unwanted attention, too. Whether her party deems her a viable candidate may become an issue.

The hits keep coming. A dark money group, Advancing AZ (aka Honest Arizona) has purchased almost $155,000 in television ads criticizing McSally’s vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act. “Tell Martha McSally to stop attacking our health care,” the group tells viewers.

McSally is Vulnerable

McSally is the most vulnerable senator for the 2020 General Election, more so than Massachusetts’ Susan Collins.

In the 2018 midterms, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema defeated her in a race that cost about $60 million. It was one of the most bitter and contentious battles in the nation. Arizona had not sent a Democrat to Washington since Dennis DeConcini.

In any other election in recent years, it is doubtful that Sinema would have won.

McSally’s upset was particularly troubling as she would have likely had an easy victory if Donald Trump wasn’t in the White House.

Long before an opponent had stepped forward, there was blood in the water.

Her critics complained about McSally’s refusal to conduct a Town Hall in her congressional district when she served in the US House. It was a legitimate grievance she did not address in her 2018 campaign and it cost her dearly in Tucson and it still dogs her today.

She still found her way to Capitol Hill. Governor Doug Ducey appointed McSally to Jon Kyl’s seat, who was serving out the late John McCain’s term.

Mark Kelly is challenging her for the seat in the upcoming 2020 General Election. When he declared his candidacy, Kelly was relatively unknown to voters and still polled close to deeply entrenched McSally.

Kelly is the husband to former US House Representative Gabbie Gifford, who was shot in a failed assassination attempt in Tucson in 2011.

Arizona is Purple

In the 2018 midterm election, most of the Arizona’s 15 counties favored McSally. The Republican candidate performed especially well in Mohave County, a Mormon stronghold and the reddest of a then red state.

McSally needed to carry more than the outlying rural areas to overcome the voting powerhouse of urbanites living in the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson.

Instead, she stuck to the red counties in Arizona, which cost her the election. Mistakes such as these are often costly.

Money Matters

An accomplished fundraiser, McSally raised $2.1 million during the first quarter of 2019. But Mark Kelly has proven better at that game. The Democrat raised an unprecedented $1 million just one day after announcing his candidacy. During the first quarter, his war chest grew by nearly $4.1 million — more than some of the presidential candidates. Arizona is once again shaping up to be a record-breaking race.

It is a well-known fact that those who spend the most money often win the election.

With so many seats being challenged, the GOP may not have the stomach for this race and opt to devote their attention and their money elsewhere.

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Shelly Fagan

Shelly Fagan is a freelance writer living in Arizona. She is passionate about American politics, business, universal basic income and worker rights. Follow her on Twitter @FaganWrites or on Medium at

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