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New poll shows Joe Arpaio is hurting Kelli Ward in Arizona Senate race

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Kelli Ward is a far saner candidate than Joe Arpaio, and a far saner candidate than she's generally given credit for. (AP)

Despite his 85 years of age, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio jumped into Arizona's open-seat Senate race yesterday. He's a near-certain loser in any statewide general election, but he could prove much more popular in a Republican primary.

In the first poll conducted since his official entry into the race — actually conducted the very day of his entry — it becomes clear that Arpaio is a serious contender, and also that he's just killing the candidacy of the former anti-establishment frontrunner, former state Sen. Kelli Ward.

A new poll conducted of 504 registered voters was conducted Tuesday by OH Predictive Insights (OHPI) shows U.S. Rep Martha McSally of Tucson is the new leader with 31 percent support. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who announced this week his intention to seek the nomination, follows closely at 29 percent. Former State Sen. Kelli Ward now trails with 25 percent.

There really haven't been that many reliable polls of this race so far, but back in November the same pollster conducted one that showed Ward with 42 percent to McSally's 34 percent, with the rest undecided.

Ward is a far saner candidate than Arpaio, and a far saner candidate than she's generally given credit for. But Arpaio's entry into the race makes it much more difficult for her to win, if not impossible.