George Conway group targets McSally in new ad

The Lincoln Project, a Republican super PAC partly run by George ConwayGeorge Thomas ConwayGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad George Conway group contrasts Trump, Eisenhower in battleground states ad George Conway group hits Trump for response to protests in new ad MORE, is targeting GOP Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police No evidence of unauthorized data transfers by top Chinese drone manufacturer: study Senate Democratic campaign arm launches online hub ahead of November MORE (Ariz.) in a new attack ad, its first major foray into down-ballot races after a string of videos targeting President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE. 

The group, whose national profile has skyrocketed amid a longstanding public spat with Trump, accused McSally of being too close with the president and shirking the bipartisanship for which her predecessors garnered praise.

“Martha McSally is no John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE. She’s no Barry Goldwater. Martha McSally doesn’t deserve their seat in the U.S. Senate,” a male narrator reads in the six-second clip.

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“Martha McSally has tarnished the strong and powerful leadership that came before her. People like John McCain and Barry Goldwater have worked tirelessly for Arizonans and Martha McSally has only worked for Donald Trump,” Jennifer Horn, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, added in a press release. 

The Lincoln Project did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill regarding the cost of the ad buy and how long the clip will air.

The group’s latest attack ad indicates McSally will also have to defend herself from intraparty criticism as she faces a stiff challenge from Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and gun control activist, to serve the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R) term.

A string of polls have shown McSally trailing Kelly, who has emerged as a fundraising juggernaut since he launched his campaign. The former astronaut raked in $11 million in the first quarter of the year, finishing the period with $19.7 million in the bank, while McSally brought in more than $6.3 million and had $10.2 million cash on hand at the same point. 

McSally’s seat is likely a crucial piece of both parties’ plans to try to control the Senate. Reelecting her will be a major focus of the GOP’s effort to protect its current 53-47 majority, while Democrats will almost certainly have to get Kelly elected to capture the majority themselves.

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The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the Arizona Senate race as a “toss-up.”

The Lincoln Project has been embroiled in a back-and-forth with Trump, a McSally backer, over a string of ads they released hammering the president for his rhetoric and response to the coronavirus.

“There’s mourning in America,” the narrator says in one ad. “Today more than 60,000 Americans have died from a deadly virus Donald Trump ignored. With the economy in shambles more than 26 million Americans are out of work, the worst economies in decades.”

Trump has since torn into the group, calling its founders “losers.”

“I don’t know what Kellyanne did to her deranged loser of a husband, Moonface, but it must have been really bad,” Trump tweeted in reference to Conway, a Washington, D.C., lawyer whose wife, Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayGeorge Conway group hits Ernst in new ad George Conway group contrasts Trump, Eisenhower in battleground states ad Sunday shows preview: Protests against George Floyd’s death, police brutality rock the nation for a second week MORE, works as a counselor to the president.

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The group has signaled it has no intention of backing down, saying it had its best fundraising day on record after Trump’s response. 

“The Lincoln Project is committed to defeating candidates, like McSally, who have abandoned their Constitutional oath,” the group said in a press release announcing its ad against McSally.

McSally’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

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