Last updated on July 30, 2020
Embattled Republican Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona promised voters that her campaign would “suspend all campaign fundraising” for the first two weeks of April in favor of “15 Days of Giving,” but finance records released last week show that the campaign seems to have raised $300,000 in that time, and apparently kept all of it.
“For the next 15 days, McSally for Senate will suspend all campaign fundraising and instead raise as much money as possible for The Salvation Army of Arizona,” the campaign claimed in an April 1 press release.
McSally also announced the plan in a video posted that day to Twitter: “I'm announcing today that my campaign will pause all fundraising for the next 15 days, as I launch a 15 Days of Giving campaign,” she said.
Back in April, The Arizona Republic published an article about McSally saying in part: “Today, she's not even asking for money. Instead, McSally is raising money for 15 days for The Salvation Army of Arizona; her campaign staff is volunteering at the non-profit; and she is donating her April Senate paycheck to help those affected by the pandemic.”
McSally said she was suspending her campaign fundraising for those 15 days. McSally spokesperson Caroline Anderegg told me that the campaign raised $212,000 for the Salvation Army in that time.
Scott Johnson of the Salvation Army confirmed that, telling me, “Senator Martha McSally’s '15 Days of Giving' initiative directed people to a dedicated Salvation Army online donation page, where people were able to donate directly to The Salvation Army’s COVID-19 relief efforts. That dedicated donation page raised more than $212,000.”
Some Republicans think McSally can win if she and Trump can persuade enough Arizona conservatives that their ouster would leave Washington in the hands of a unified Democratic government with an agenda hostile to their interests.
“Everyone in my world thinks she’s going to lose. But I don’t,” said Stan Barnes, a Republican strategist and former state legislator who believes a Trump victory would bring McSally enough support to put her over the top.
“I think it’s going to be a close race, but the president wins Arizona, and those voters want the Senate to remain in Republican hands,” he said.
As a way to relate to voters on the issue, Kelly, a retired NASA astronaut, talks directly to the camera in his latest TV ad.
“Nothing can prepare you for a health care crisis,” he says, offering an unspoken reference to the 2011 attempted assassination of his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Giffords recovered from the shot to her head but it left her facing big medical bills and years of physical therapy, which she will need the rest of her life.
On virtual town halls and on Democratic organizing calls, sometimes with his wife by his side, Kelly says he understands the need for urgent care, protection for those with preexisting conditions, and the hardship of soaring medical bills. He says he will work across party lines to lower the cost of prescription drugs, whose costs he ties to the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on lawmakers.
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