A group backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., launched a new ad campaign Tuesday against Kelli Ward — the primary opponent of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. — attacking her over "crazy ideas" and "embarrassing behavior" during her time as a state senator and her primary campaign against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., last year.
The Senate Leadership Fund released a new digital ad reprising some attacks McCain used against her, including calling her "Chemtrail Kelli" by reminding voters she said she was "open to" a conspiracy theory about airplanes spreading mind control chemicals. Overall, the group is putting just over $10,000 behind the ad in Arizona and Washington.
"Embarrassing behavior. Dangerous ideas. No wonder Republicans rejected her just one year ago," the ad's narrator says. "Chemtrail Kelli — not conservative, just crazy ideas."
Ward received a boost last week after President Trump thanked her for running against Flake, an outspoken critich of Trump throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. In the tweet, Trump called Flake "toxic" and said he was "WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate."
News of the ad also comes hours before Trump is set to hold a rally in Phoenix Tuesday night. McConnell and other senators have lined up behind Flake despite the president's tweet about Ward, who lost to McCain by 12 points last year.
"Arizonans are well-served by the principled leadership of @JeffFlake," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas tweeted. "He always fights for what's best for #AZ & we need him in the #Senate."
Two weeks ago, Senate Leadership Fund president Steven Law openly questioned Ward's viability in a general election campaign, telling C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" she has "real baggage."
"I'm not even sure [Kelli Ward] will end up being the primary opponent of choice against Flake by those who are concerned about Sen. Flake's opposition to Trump," he said.
"I think both of them have real baggage," Law said, referring to Ward and potential Nevada Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian, who could take on Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. "It would be very hard for either of them to be competitive in a primary, let alone in a general."