Senate Brief: Breaking Down AZ-SEN’s “Trumpian Hugfest”

Week of Monday, August 27.

IN BRIEF: The “Trumpian hugfest” in Arizona’s Republican Senate primary is thankfully less than 36 hours away from being over forever. Let’s take a look at our contenders.

  • Martha McSally has distinguished herself with a string of egregious flip-flops on issues from DACA to Donald Trump. Faced with brutal attacks from the GOP’s right wing, outside groups have been forced to spend at least $4 million to drag her over the finish line. Expect her wishy-washy record to follow her through to November, where she’ll have to explain her ever-shifting positions to a much less forgiving electorate.
  • Kelli Ward is criss-crossing the state on a bus tour with a who’s who of conspiracy theorists and MAGA Twitter. When asked by MSNBC about guest speaker Mike Cernovich’s belief that “diversity” is “code for white genocide,” Ward said “attaching those things to me is ridiculous,” and “We need to have a hook to get [the media] interested in seeing the bus tour.” Which, for the record, isn’t going so great.
  • Joe Arpaio? Enough said.

THREE TO WATCH:

  • Dean Heller continued his campaign to undermine protections for pre-existing conditions. Heller’s latest bill pretends to cover pre-existing conditions, but in reality allows insurers to cover chronically sick people but not cover their chronic medical conditions, meaning a Nevadan with diabetes could buy health insurance — but that health insurance wouldn’t cover the cost of insulin. Unfortunately for Heller, some people actually read his bills.
  • Rick Scott is under increasing scrutiny as news stories about his blatant corruption and conflicts of interest mount. He can’t even explain himself: when asked last week about his investment in a company that won state government approval to build a high-speed rail project, Scott could only respond, “I didn’t, I – I – I mean, I’m responsible for, you know, what I do.”
  • Marsha Blackburn is bear-hugging Trump and his policies, even as his actions on trade slam key Tennessee constituencies. Blackburn’s anemic criticism of Trump’s tariffs is driving away voters she needs, like Republican businessman Sam Goff, who called Trump’s tariffs “disastrous,” saying, “Look at what’s already happening.”

THREE NUMBERS:

  • $62,000,000: Maximum reported value of Rick Scott’s investments in the notorious Cayman Islands tax haven.
  • $1,800,000: Maximum reported value of Rick Scott’s investments in firms that do business with the brutal Maduro regime in Venezuela.
  • $100,000: Maximum reported value of Rick Scott’s investments in companies tied to Vladimir Putin.

ONE FOR THE ROAD: “I Like It,” Cardi B (2018).

AND HAPPY MONDAY from American Bridge. Follow us at @JoshuaKarp@AmeliaPenniman@EmmaBeckerman1