Kelli Ward said Tuesday that U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff
Flake's lack of "leadership" and "courage" was partly to blame
for the death of an Iowa girl whom authorities say was killed by
an undocumented immigrant.
At the same time, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate hit her
front-running Republican primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Martha
McSally, calling her an "amnesty advocate."
On Twitter, Ward, a former state senator from Lake Havasu City,
linked to a Fox News story about Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts,
who disappeared on July 18 while jogging. Cristhian Bahena
Rivera, an undocumented immigrant and Mexican national who lived
in Iowa told police he killed her in a panic after she tried to
call for help, court records say.
MORE: Undocumented immigrant charged with murder in killing of
Ward tweeted: "The lack of leadership & courage by open border
senators like (Arizona Republicans Flake and McCain) amnesty
advocate Martha McSally contribute to these senseless deaths. We
need true leadership in the Senate to #BuildTheWall & secure our
She encouraged followers to vote for her in the Aug. 28 primary.
Dr. Kelli Ward
The lack of leadership & courage by open border senators like
@JeffFlake, @SenJohnMcCain, & #amnesty advocate Martha McSally
contribute to these senseless deaths. We need true leadership in
the Senate to #BuildTheWall & secure our borders! #VoteWard
#AZSEN http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/08/21/mollie-tibbetts- murder-suspect-idd-as-cristhian-rivera-24-living-in-us-
4:03 PM - Aug 21, 2018
A spokeswoman for McSally's campaign said she would not
"dignify" Ward's comment with a response.
The Republican Senate candidates are in a three-way primary race
that also includes former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio,
another border hard-liner. The primary election is Aug. 28.
Like President Donald Trump did as a candidate in 2016, Ward has
largely campaigned on her views of stringent, enforcement-
focused proposals to crack down illegal immigration in her bid
for the Republican nomination. She routinely lashes out against
McCain — who handily defeated her in his 2016 primary — and
Flake, the retiring Republican incumbent.
For years, the senators have advocated for comprehensive
immigration reform and in 2013 collaborated with Democrats as
part of the Gang of Eight. The group's legislation sought to
balance a pathway to citizenship for millions of people without
legal status who had settled in the United States with an
unprecedented investment in border security and a modernized
visa system. The bipartisan bill cleared the Senate, but the
House didn't act on it.
On border security and illegal immigration, Ward's ideas echo
the proposals that propelled Trump to the White House in 2016
with the help of Arizona. Yet polling suggests she is lagging
behind McSally in the Senate race.
The winner of Tuesday's Republican primary election will face
the Democratic nominee. U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the front-
runner against activist and attorney Deedra Abboud.