President Donald Trump spoke at a rally for Senate candidate Martha McSally at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.
Arizona Republic

Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa was in Arizona on Thursday to hand over Republican US Senate candidate Martha McSally, who is trapped in a fierce battle with her Democrat rival Kyrsten Sinema.

One afternoon "mini-rally" in Chandler, Ernst and McSally walked around a state GOP office thanking McSally's supporters and volunteers for choosing to vote.

"Drive to last, last minute," Ernst said, calling bankers and supporters. "I need you in the Senate, people."

"We're working on that," a trailer replied.

McSally, a two-year US representative from Tucson, is currently in a close race with Sinema, a three-term US representative from Phoenix. The race was considered by experts to be a tossup and millions of dollars spent on ads for both candidates.

Ernst, who was elected to the Senate in 2014, is an increasingly popular face in Arizona politics. She helped the late Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, during his last re-election campaign in 2016. In 2017, she led two election campaigns for incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who eventually left his redial later in the year.

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Earlier in the day, Ernst and McSally attended a roundtable with veterans in Phoenix and a tour and council meeting on defense issues at MD Helicopters in Mesa.

In an interview with The Arizona Republic After the Chandler event, Ernst, the first female combat veterinarian who was elected to the Senate, said she would quit for McSally because she is a veteran and a friend ,

"The majority we have in the Senate is low," Ernst said. "We need to hold this seat and we need to increase seats in the US Senate, which is one of the momentous choices in this cycle."

She added that McSally was a "phenomenal" person and someone in which she wanted to work the Senate.

McSally said that she and Ernst were the only female veterans elected to either the House of Representatives or the Senate, which she emphasized several times while talking to supporters and reporters.

"We spent more time on combat boots than on clothes," she added.

Ernst is just one of a number of Republican politicians who came to Arizona on behalf of McSally. President Donald Trump, US Senate candidate in Utah and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush have stopped in the city. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to speak at a rally in Yuma on Friday.

"I think it shows that we have a lot of support and enthusiasm behind us," said McSally. "But we have common values, we care less about federal government, less taxes, less regulations … and those are unifying issues."


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