McSally Suspends TV Ads, Canvasing Amid Virus Concerns

From a gun rights perspective, one of the most important races in the Senate may be the election for senator from Arizona. There, incumbent Sen. Martha McSally takes on former astronaut turned professional gun-grabber Mark Kelly. It’s a tense election even without a pandemic shadow hanging over the campaigns.

Now, McSally has suspended direct TV advertising and canvassing.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is directing her campaign to halt television advertising and canvassing activities during the coronavirus outbreak.

McSally’s campaign said in a statement that it is “not the time for politics” and will instead be encouraging staffers to help those in their communities who are particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus.

“This is not a time for politics; it is a time for us to remember that we are in this together as Americans, regardless of party or ideology,” said McSally. “As such, I’ve directed my campaign to cease all television political adverting[sic] for at least the next 30 days. I have also suspended all door to door canvassing and have instead encouraged those staffers to help the elderly and vulnerable in their communities.”

McSally added that she will dedicate “100%” of her time to legislating in an effort to curb the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus. She urged her fellow lawmakers to join her in pausing their campaign efforts.

“Members of Congress and candidates around the country should join me in this call for a national moratorium on ‘us vs. them.’ We need social distancing from our usual corners, and we need to look at each other as fellow Americans and with a servant’s heart, not with a politically jaundiced eye,” she said.

That doesn’t mean there won’t still be media advertising for McSally. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly dropping $700,000 in television ad buys on her behalf.

However, that may not be enough.

Currently, McSally is trailing by a significant margin. Further, her opponent may have suspended canvassing, but he’s still using his campaign funds to advertise.

In other words, it doesn’ t look like McConnell’s help is going to be enough.

That shouldn’t be too surprising. While McSally looks great as a candidate on paper–she’s a former fighter pilot, after all–she doesn’t engender much enthusiasm among the Arizona electorate. She lost her Senate bid to Krysten Sinema during the 2018 election in a state that had been seriously trending red for quite some time.

McSally only made it to the Senate after the death of Sen. John McCain. She was appointed to fulfill McCain’s term, which is now coming up.

Unless something changes, Kelly will join Sinema in pushing through new anti-gun regulations in Congress and potentially erode the GOP hold on the Senate. That majority has been one of the only things protecting gun rights in this county so far.

To be fair to McSally, she’s right to suspend canvassing right now. There’s zero reason to risk volunteers by asking them to go door to door when people are sick with a deadly disease.

She may also be using the COVID-19 fear to justify holding onto her campaign funds until closer to the election when she can launch an all-out media blitz that overwhelms Kelly.

I don’t know if that’s the case, but I hope so.

Otherwise, hold on tight to your guns, folks.