PHOENIX (AP) — The head of the Arizona Republican Party said in a fundraising email that Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly will be stopped “dead in his tracks.”
The comment by state GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward sparked an outcry from Democrats Friday.
Kelly became a prominent gun-control advocate after his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was critically injured in the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson in 2011.
Two years later, Giffords and Kelly founded Americans for Responsible Solutions. The group’s stated mission was to seek “responsible solutions to gun violence.” The group’s name has since been changed to Giffords.
Ward's email notes Kelly's advocacy for gun control and urges Republicans to donate to the party to "stop gun-grabber Kelly."
A portion of that email can be read below.
Kelly’s campaign was quick to respond to the email.
“This dangerous rhetoric has absolutely no place in Arizona and is what’s wrong with our politics," said Kelly campaign spokesman Jacob Peters. “Mark Kelly is running for Senate to overcome this type of nasty divisiveness that does nothing for Arizonans.”
Ward defended her comments on Twitter in response to a report by Bloomberg.
“Utterly ridiculous!,” she wrote. “I don’t wish harm on Mr. Kelly. We disagree politically on the Constitution and the (Second Amendment), and I’m well aware of the harm his policies would cause should he ever be elected. Dishonest stories like this are dangerous and irresponsible!”
In another tweet, Ward attacked the media for reporting “dishonest stories about me for clicks.”
Ward is no stranger to controversy or attacks on the media.
Hours before Sen. John McCain died in 2018, Ward claimed his family’s announcement that he was ending cancer treatment was timed to hurt her campaign.
After her response was Tweeted out, Ward deleted the post and replaced it with one claiming the media was concocting a story.