Though still well over a year away until election day in Arizona, I am fascinated with the Senate race there. It’s an increasingly diverse state, but it’s also a state where there is a huge amount of voter suppression in counties with large populations of POC. In the 2016 election, for instance, polling places in Maricopa County dropped from 200 in 2012 to only 60 in 2016 despite voter registration rising from 300,000 to 800,000, and that’s a county with a large Latino population. Donald Trump won the state by fewer than 100,000 votes.
Next year, Republican Senator Jeff Flake is up for reelection, and he’s considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans in 2018. He was an early critic of Trump, and recently he released a book that not only attacked Trump but blamed Republicans for his rise. Trump has been sh*tting on Jeff Flake for quite a while now on Twitter, and has been talking to Flake’s potential GOP opponents about backing one of them and steering a lot of money toward that opponent. This, in turn, pisses of Mitch McConnell, who doesn’t appreciate the President trying to primary one of his establishment Republicans, which has created a huge divide in Arizona between Trump Republicans and Establishment Republicans.
In theory, I think that Trump Republicans are winning out there (and tonight’s Trump rally in Phoenix may shed some more light on that). However, Mitch McConnell is not going down without a fight. His SuperPAC released this ad attacking Flake challenger Kelli Ward, who ran against John McCain last year and lost. (She also recently suggested that McCain should step down and give his seat up to her after he was diagnosed with brain cancer).
I don’t know how things work in Arizona, or if Kelli Ward has any support in the state (the most recent poll in February had her leading over Flake 30 to 23 percent), but after this ad? I genuinely don’t know how a candidate could come back from this. It is brutal, and gives Ward a nickname — Chemtrail Kelli — that’s likely to stick to her for the entire campaign.
Meanwhile, there is good news and bad news for Democrats. Polling last month suggests that a generic Democrat would crush Jeff Flake 47 to 31 percent, but unfortunately for Democrats, Generic Democrat isn’t running. An individual is, and they never fare as well as Generic Democrats.