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Arizona GOP Rep. Martha McSally announces Senate bid

13 January 2018

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally's announcement for the U.S. Senate came Friday by way of an online video spotlighting President Donald Trump, her fight against a controversial Air Force policy, and an admonition to Washington, D.C., Republicans " to grow a pair of ovaries".

McSally, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014, must strike a delicate balance between embracing Trump and appealing to more moderate voters, Republican strategists said.

"Like our president, I'm exhausted of PC politicians and their BS excuses", McSally said in her hard-hitting announcement video, released Friday, that also highlighted her career as an Air Force fighter pilot and her eight-year fight to end a military policy requiring female soldiers in certain Muslim-majority countries to wear robes over their military uniforms. As she launched her bid, the 2nd District Arizona lawmaker called for the national Republican Party to, "grow a pair of ovaries", among what will be one of the most watched Senate races in the country.

McSally, R-Ariz., was the first USA female combat pilot, and her campaign video tells how she battled the Pentagon to overturn a policy that required US servicewomen in Saudi Arabia to wear Muslim abayas and headscarves.

Martha McSally refused to endorse Donald Trump.

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"If you want to know my campaign strategy, it's three simple words from the old Air Force mission statement".

"I'm a fighter pilot and I talk like one", she says. "That's just not how leaders carry themselves", she said at the time.

McSally promises to back President Trump on judicial appointments and reversing Obama executive orders.

She also had campaign announcements on Friday in Phoenix and Prescott.

McSally has the backing of the Republican establishment and is expected to formally announce her candidacy later today in Arizona. But she sidestepped a follow-up question on what she thought about his comments Thursday labeling Haiti and African countries "shitholes". "How much daylight is she going to put between herself and the president?"

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McSally, a two-term congresswoman, becomes the third high profile Republican to enter the race. Kelli Ward, who ran against Sen. Ward unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Arizona Senator John McCain in 2016.

The victor of the Republican primary will likely face U.S. Representative Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic front-runner.

The event ended with McSally piloting a fully restored silver AT-6 plane, which McSally said she promised the owners that it would be returned "with a few more miles on it, no scratches and an unused parachute".

But Democrats aren't her only target in the video, as the congresswoman also boasts of putting Republicans in their place in another head-turning one-liner.

With roughly eight months before the primaries, several candidates have amassed sizable war chests and have hired professional campaign consultants to manage day-to-day operations. Bruce Wheeler, former U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, emergency room Dr. Matt Heinz, businessman Billy Kovacs, Cochise County rancher Barbara Sherry and Matiella.

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Arizona GOP Rep. Martha McSally announces Senate bid