The Arizona Republic

With Trump in town, Sinema skirts spotlight

- Pamela Ren Larson

While her Republican opponent spent the day campaignin­g with the president of the United States, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema volunteere­d at a north Phoenix food bank and visited volunteers at two Phoenix campaign offices.

With 18 days until Election Day, Sinema’s campaign said it was going to spend Friday focused on early voters, who typically account for 80 percent of the vote.

The arrival of President Donald Trump to stump with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally wouldn’t change that, Sinema said.

“It will be the same as what we’ve been doing,” Sinema told reporters during a conference call. “We’re here to talk about the work we’re doing in the campaign in these last 18 days.”

Joining her on the call were four longtime Republican­s who have endorsed Sinema’s candidacy. Republican­s for Sinema lists 57 GOP members who want to convince undecided Republican and independen­t voters to back the Democrat in the race.

Max Fose, president of a consulting and public-affairs group and a former staffer for John McCain, co-chairs the Republican­s for Sinema group.

“I think there is courage in numbers, and I think that if other Republican­s and independen­ts see others that are like them that support Kyrsten’s campaign, they’ll follow suit,” Fose said.

It was a message that, at least on Friday, had difficulty competing for the spotlight amid a visit to Arizona by the president and figurehead of the Republican Party.

Jack Lunsford, a former Coconino County assessor who now runs a public-affairs group, said he has contribute­d to Sinema’s campaign and encouraged others to vote for her. Lunsford said he tells others that Sinema is not “a rubber stamp” for either party.

“She’s one person, one voice in the House, but in the Senate she can be a much bigger voice,” Lunsford said.

At an event in the south Phoenix campaign office, Sinema responded to questions about Trump’s visit and McSally’s accusation during Monday’s debate that a remark Sinema made in 2003 on talk radio amounts to treason.

In the 2003 interview, a Phoenix radio host said, “By me, as an individual, if I want to go fight in the Taliban army, I go over there and I’m fighting for the Taliban. I’m saying that’s a personal decision.”

Sinema, who had been discussing her opposition to the Iraq War, replied: “Fine. I don’t care if you want to do that. Go ahead.”

“Martha crossed a line when she made that comment, and that’s a choice that she’s made in her campaign,” Sinema said on Friday. “Our campaign will stay focused on the issues that matter most to Arizonans.”

Sinema highlighte­d her desire to improve the nation’s health-care system.

“You’ve heard me talk a lot about my commitment to ensuring that Arizonans get access to health care — and the difference between Martha and I couldn’t be more clear. I believe that all Arizonans should get access to affordable and accessible care, and Martha has voted to take away protection­s for individual­s who live with pre-existing conditions,” Sinema said.

Her campaign also noted that volunteers have signed up for 2,700 shifts knocking on doors and staffing phone banks this weekend at 51 locations around Arizona.

Among the volunteers was JC Ramirez, a Goodyear resident, who was at the south Phoenix campaign office.

“I believe that we Americans need to be united, and our president’s administra­tion is not doing that,” Ramirez said. “We need someone in the White House and in Congress to unite Americans.”

 ?? CARLY HENRY/ THE REPUBLIC ?? Kyrsten Sinema helps prepare snack packs with veteran Terry Araman at Desert Mission Food Bank on Friday.
CARLY HENRY/ THE REPUBLIC Kyrsten Sinema helps prepare snack packs with veteran Terry Araman at Desert Mission Food Bank on Friday.

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