Ever since Donald Trump decided he doesn’t like Arizona’s junior senator, Jeff Flake, who wrote a mean book about him but voted to kill Obamacare anyway, there’s been a brief mini-surge of articles explainering who this Kelli Ward person is, since she’s the most attention-getting of the Republicans running against Flake in next year’s primaries. Before his Burn-It-All-Down Phoenix rally, Trump came close to endorsing her last week in a Tweet, because her entire campaign strategy has been to attach herself like a remora to Trump’s plankton-rich underbelly:calling on him to resign, because she’s a doctor and in her professional opinion McCain needs to quit since he’s gonna die and his brain will go bad, and by the way could she please be appointed to serve out his term? She’s a prime rightwing nutcase, and for the sake of truth in labeling laws, she really should help out voters by changing her name to “Michele” with one L, although we suppose Kelli with an i could become its own special thing.
Ward, a former state representative from Lake Havasu City, ran against McCain for the Senate in 2016, and lost that primary big-league. Even before McCain’s cancer was diagnosed, she was running on her Expert Medical Opinion that John McCain was old. In one TV appearance, she offered this compassionate case for leaving Senator Grumpypants out on an ice floe, for compassion’s sake:
He has gotten weak. He has gotten old. I do want to wish him a happy birthday. He’s going to be 80 on Monday, and I want to give him the best birthday present ever — the gift of retirement … I’m a physician. I see the physiological changes that happen in normal aging, in patients again and again and again over the last 20, 25 years. So I do know what happens to the body and the mind at the end of life.
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Sadly, the establishment has won this battle by spending untold millions to call me liberal, dangerous, and weak […] After refusing to debate while running a slash and burn campaign devoid of actual ideas, I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility.
So you can see why Trump might like her.
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But you know how it goes: You fuck just one sheeple, and you pick up the nickname “Chemtrail Kelli,” as if she were some kind of kook who’d go on the Alex Jones show.Which Ward did, of course, while running against McCain. Jones was worried McCain might have her assassinated, warning Ward, “just want you to watch your back because that guy is just such a gangster.” He really cares. Oddly, he didn’t try to persuade her that she could escape McCain’s death squads by purchasing some trucker speed. But Ward wasn’t about to call Jones nutty; instead, she acknowledged she’d heard about the McCain mob, and was taking measures to stay safe:
Yes, you know, I’ve had people who have told me that I should get an auto starter on my car, that I should never be starting my own car. I really hope things haven’t gotten that far out of control that I should be fearful for my life. But we are very cautious and I always have people around me who are providing security, which is great. It makes me feel very confident and comfortable whenever I go out to speak to the people.
Oh, and there’s more! Ward has also warned on rightwing radio about the UN’s Black Helicopters and the dangers of Agenda 21 — she even co-sponsored a bill in the state House calling for Arizona to refuse to comply with the non-binding set of guidelines on sustainable development.
Ward’s fondness for out-there conspiracy theories — whether or not she believes ’em, she’s happy to play footsie with believers — was fodder for this ad from Mitch McConnell’s super PAC, because McConnell is solidly behind Republican incumbents (it’s a reboot of the group’s 2016 ad against Ward from the last election):
Ward, not surprisingly, says that if McConnell’s super PAC is running ads against her, that must mean she’s the best:
“I don’t think they’d be throwing out attack ads and spending thousands of dollars to attack me if I were not a threat to their establishment power,” Ward told Fox News.
She’s also taken to reminding Arizonans that if only they’d been wise enough to elect her, they could already be losing their oppressive healthcare right now:
“Just think, had I replaced Sen. McCain, I would’ve been the deciding yes vote to get rid of Obamacare, to start that full repeal,” Ward said.
There are other, more mainstream Republicans, with actual state party support, but Ward has picked up the support of Sean Hannity, as well as a $300,000 donation to a pro-Ward super PAC from uber-wingnut Robert Mercer, the billionaire financier behind Breitbart and the 2016 Trump campaign. One recent poll even shows Ward with a significant lead over Flake, but it’s still early — Ward learned last year that counting on the incumbent’s unpopularity with fellow rightwingers wasn’t enough to win. Still, she’s crazy enough, and Trumpy enough, that the National Review has already warned that if Arizona Republicans replace Flake with Ward, they might very well end up giving Flake’s seat to a Democrat.
Gosh, wouldn’t that be a shame?