Trump backers aid Kelli Ward’s Senate bid


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President Donald Trump may not have written a $10 million check to find a Republican to defeat Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, but his supporters now seem to be joining the fray.

Two former members of a super PAC supportive of Trump have joined Kelli Ward’s Senate campaign, according to a statement from Ward issued Friday. Earlier in the week, Robert Mercer, a key Trump backer, also donated $300,000 to a super PAC supportive of Ward.

The political help comes not long after Flake renewed his criticism of Trump in a new book that has gotten national attention and a fresh rebuke from the White House. Trump has long suggested he would personally provide up to $10 million for a Republican to take out Flake, but hasn’t actually done so.

Last week White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was unsure how much Trump was willing to do to aid a challenger to Flake, but made clear the president wasn’t pleased with Flake’s book and comments.

“I’m not sure about any potential funding of a campaign,” she said during a press briefing. “But I think that Senator Flake would serve his constituents much better if he was less focused on writing a book and attacking the president, and passing legislation.”

Mercer’s support isn’t surprising: He gave KelliPAC $700,000 during Ward’s efforts to unseat Sen. John McCain last year. That political-action committee raised about $761,000 overall.

Mercer’s money is the beginning of KelliPAC’s efforts to restart fundraising, said Doug McKee, the PAC’s treasurer.

“We kind of layed low after the last election cycle,” he said. “It just came time to start reaching out to people. The Mercers came on board and we’re hoping it’s going to build some momentum for us.”

For its part, the Flake campaign is focusing on support closer to home.

“Jeff Flake is a proven candidate who’s campaign is powered by grassroots supporters from all over Arizona,” said Will Allison, a spokesman for the campaign.

McKee said he isn’t expecting a $10 million check from the president anytime soon.

“I think that $10 million commitment is a myth,” he said with a laugh. “To be honest, I really doubt very seriously the administration had anything to do with this. Mr. Mercer was very kind with us last cycle as well. … It has nothing to do with the administration.”

Eric Beach, founder and co-chairman of Great America PAC, and Brent Lowder, that organization’s executive director, have joined Ward’s campaign. 

Great America PAC raised $28.7 million in support of Trump last year.

“Kelli Ward is a strong, thoughtful leader and will be a hardworking, dedicated senator
in Washington that all Arizonans can be proud of,” Beach said in a statement released by the campaign.

“Sen. Jeff Flake has continually failed Arizona and is more interested in selling his new book by attacking the president than actually serving his constituents and getting things done. Arizona deserves far better from their senator.”

READ MORE:  

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