Arizona Republican Martha McSally gave an unusual pitch to potential donors this week — give up a meal so they can give to her campaign. The incumbent senator is locked in a tight race to keep her seat, and as AzFamily.com reported, she suggested that her backers could forgo some food and use that cash to help boost her re-election chances.
“We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out,” she said. “But it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be.”
The remarks were made earlier in the week at a private fundraising event. Local Republican businesswoman Christine Jones told the outlet that she thought McSally’s approach was unusual and sounded more in line with something a church might ask of its congregants. Jones added that it appeared to be an act of desperation on the senator’s part. McSally has struggled to match the strong donations made to her Democratic challenger, Mark Kelly.
The McSally campaign told AzFamily.com that the statement was meant to be a joke, something that other Arizona Republicans said seemed clear from her tone.
Earlier this year, she also garnered some criticism when it was discovered that her campaign took in $300,000 while fundraising was supposedly on hold for “15 Days of Giving,” as Salon reported. The senator had announced that she would suspend all fundraising during the first two weeks of April to raise money for charitable causes, but finance records showed that her campaign still fundraised during that time — and kept it all for their coffers.
A McSally spokesperson told the outlet that the money raised during that period was “passive,” insisting that it represented recurring donations and past money that hadn’t been counted, as well as disbursements from joint fundraising committees.
“Senator McSally and her team channeled 100% of their efforts during these 15 days to raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the thousands of Arizonans served by the Salvation Army and any suggestion otherwise is outrageous and a misleading attempt to politicize this important work,” said spokeswoman Caroline Anderegg.
McSally’s race has garnered national attention, with Democrats eyeing the seat as a potential flip in their attempt to win back control of the U.S. Senate. Polls have shown that Kelly has maintained a small but consistent lead in the race.