SEARCH

Tuesday
Oct162018

'That's treason!' Candidates clash over Taliban comment at Arizona Senate debate

iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- The only debate in the Arizona Senate race ended with fireworks as Republican nominee Rep. Martha McSally accused her Democratic opponent Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of treason Monday night.

The slam came in reference to a 2003 video clip that was unearthed wherein Sinema said that she wouldn't care if an American joined the Taliban.

"That's treason!" McSally nearly screamed, looking directly at Sinema.

"This is the definition of treason, saying it’s OK for Americans to join our enemy!" she added.

Sinema deflected, saying McSally is "just trying to cut, cut, cut and not share the whole picture."

"Martha’s trying to make this Senate campaign about me," Sinema said on stage. In a gaggle with reporters afterward, Sinema called the claims "ridiculous."

That capped off a debate that was filled with a lot of she-said, she-saids, with the two candidates saying that their opponent was miscasting their stance on any number of issues, including health care, Medicare, social security, military cuts, tax cuts and cuts to coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Both candidates needed to be pressed for answers at different points in the debate.

For Sinema, that came early on, when she had to be asked three times how she would have voted if she were in the Senate for the Kavanaugh confirmation vote. She eventually said that she would have voted "no."

For McSally, she was pressed to be direct in whether or not she supports the Trump administration's implementation of the separation of families at the border. She said that no one wants to see families separated but we need to enforce the laws, so Congress should change the laws.

"The reality is the cartels know right now if you show up with a kid, you’re going to be let go," McSally said.

One interesting point of comparison came when they addressed how they would dealt with President Donald Trump.

McSally, who spent much of the primary aligning herself with Trump and noted in her opening Monday night that she's looking forward to "hosting" Trump when he comes to Mesa on Friday as part of his western swing, was asked if she was proud of the president and his behavior.

"President Trump ran for president one time and won, and he’s a disrupter ... we’re seeing the results form that. ... He’s disrupting things for sure in Washington, D.C., but providing more opportunities for Americans," she said.

"I am proud that he has gone to the White House and he is leading the country in the right direction," she said, adding, "He didn't need to be doing this. I've gotten to know him over the past year and a half and he loves America."

Sinema, who has been casting herself as a moderate and has voted with the administration 62 percent of the time, according to ABC News partner FiveThirtyEight, said that she would vote according to how his laws impact Arizonans and not based on party lines.

"When the president is doing something right, support him, when he's doing something wrong, oppose it," Sinema said.

Many Arizonans see this race -- and their support for either candidate -- as a referendum on the president and his agenda.

George Bingham is a Republican from Arizona who was handing out McSally posters at a rally held for her with Mitt Romney in Gilbert on Friday. Bingham said that he sees this as a “huge, huge election” that has implications that extend far beyond Arizona.

“We have a president that needs all the Republican support that he can get in the Senate,” Bingham said.

“If he wants to get his agenda done, he’s going to need every Republican senator,” he said.

Pam Potter, a college professor who was knocking on doors over the weekend in Peoria on behalf of Democratic candidates, including Sinema, said she thinks this Senate race is one of the “really important” ones this cycle.

“Right now, we have a president unchecked. Right now they [Republicans] have all the houses,” Potter said.

“Kyrsten specifically is a moderate Democrat. She is ready to work on the issues rather than a partisan stance,” she added.

Monday's debate comes five days after early voting started in Arizona, as the state votes in a tight race to fill the seat being left open by Sen. Jeff Flake.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct162018

Suspicious letter sent to Republican Sen. Susan Collins' home, author said it contained Ricin

Alex Wong/Getty Images(BANGOR, Maine) -- A threatening letter that the writer claimed was contaminated with ricin was sent to the Bangor, Maine, residence of Sen. Susan Collins early Monday afternoon, the senator's communications director, Annie Clark said.

Bangor Police responded to the incident at approximately 1:39 p.m. to investigate the suspicious letter, officials said at a press conference Monday.

The letter was received by Collins' husband, Tom Daffron, according to Clark.

"Currently, we have no information that would suggest the public at large is in any danger whatsoever," said Sgt. Wade Betters of Bangor Police.

The local fire department and a HAZMAT team from Orono were called in to assist in the investigation, Sgt. Betters stated.

Bangor Police have not disclosed the contents of the letter, however Clark said that the writer claimed to contaminate the letter with ricin in a series of tweets posted on Monday evening.

"The affected areas have now been cleared, and Senator Collins and Mr. Daffron will be able to remain at home tonight," said Clark, while noting, "The testing of the letter, as well as the investigation into its origins, remain ongoing."

Collins has received criticism from her decision to vote for the confirmation of Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court on October 6. The senator was widely considered as one of the crucial votes in the confirmation process, and her support of Kavanaugh resulted in being the target of numerous protests.

"He [Kavanaugh] has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father," Collins wrote in a statement Oct. 5, revealing her decision to vote for the newly-appointed associate justice, stating that she hoped Kavanaugh would, "lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court."

Police have not revealed the motive of the writer who sent the suspicious letter to the Collins' home.

"We are very grateful for the immediate and professional assistance that we received from the Bangor Police Department, the Maine Crime Lab, the Maine State Police Department, the Capitol Police, the FBI, the Orono Hazmat Unit, the Bangor Fire Department, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service," Sen. Collins said in a statement issued Monday evening. "We feel blessed to live in such a supportive community."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Trump suggests 'rogue killers' may be involved in disappearance of journalist Khashoggi

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump told reporters that "rogue killers" may be involved in the disappearance of independent journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who has been living in the U.S.

The president's comments Monday morning came after he spoke to Saudi Arabia's King Salman, who, Trump said, "denies any knowledge" about Khashoggi's disappearance.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it,” Trump said to the press after his phone call with the Saudi king. “He didn't really know, maybe, I don't want to get into his mind but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows?”

Pressed on whether he believed King Salman’s denials, the president wouldn’t say.

“All I can do is report what he told me. He told me in a very firm way that they had no knowledge of it. He said it very strongly,” Trump said. “His denial to me could not have been stronger, that he had no knowledge. It sounded like he and also the crown prince [Mohanmmed bin Salman] had no knowledge.”

Trump also said that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is leaving "literally within an hour" for Saudi Arabia, and possibly other countries.

Khashoggi, a self-exiled Saudi journalist and prominent critic of the Saudi crown prince, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2 to obtain documents he needed to get married. Turkish authorities have claimed he was murdered in the consulate by Saudi operatives, an allegation the Saudi government has consistently denied.

Tensions grew over the weekend between Washington, Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was a contributor to The Washington Post.

President Trump in a "60 Minutes" interview that aired over the weekend said of the alleged murder, “There’s something really terrible and disgusting about that if that were the case. So we’re going to have to see. We’re going to get to the bottom of it, and there will be severe punishment” if the Turkish claims are true.

In an apparent response to Trump’s comments, a Saudi official said that if any moves were taken against the kingdom, “it will respond with greater action ... The Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy,” Reuters reported.

Trump's comments Monday came as Saudi officials and Turkish investigators were conducting a joint inspection of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for clues to Khashoggi's whereabouts, The Associated Press reported.

Saudi officials arrived in Turkey on Friday after the two governments agreed to a joint investigation into the case, with Saudi officials granting Turkish investigator access to the consulate building, Reuters reported.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Trump

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A federal judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by adult film actress Stormy Daniels against President Donald Trump, court documents showed.

Daniels was also ordered to pay Trump's legal fees.

Shortly after Daniels agreed to speak out about her alleged sexual relationship with Trump, she alleged she and her daughter were threatened in Las Vegas, Nevada, and told to "Leave Trump alone. Forget the story," according to the filing.

After Daniels released a sketch in April of the man she claimed threatened her, Trump posted on Twitter: "A sketch years later about a nonexistent man."

Daniels, in her lawsuit, claimed Trump acted with "actual malice" and "reckless disregard for the truth" because either he knew about the alleged threat or he had no way of knowing if the threatening incident had actually taken place, documents stated.

The Court ruled that Trump's tweet was "rhetorical hyperbole" and protected by the First Amendment.

In a statement, Trump's attorney Charles J. Harder called it a "total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels."

"No amount of spin or commentary by Stormy Daniels or her lawyer, Mr. Avenatti, can truthfully characterize today’s ruling in any way other than total victory for President Trump and total defeat for Stormy Daniels. The amount of the award for President Trump’s attorneys’ fees will be determined at a later date," Harder said in the statement.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, posted on Twitter that he will appeal the decision and that Daniels' other claims against Trump and his former attorney, Michael Cohen, remain unaffected.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Judge dismisses Stormy Daniels defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump

Monday
Oct152018

Elizabeth Warren releases DNA analysis showing 'strong evidence' of Native American ancestry

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Progressive stalwart and frequent Trump target Sen. Elizabeth Warren has released results of a DNA test giving "strong evidence" that she had a Native American ancestor dating back several generations.

"While the vast majority of the individual’s ancestry is European, the results strongly support the existence of an unadmixed Native American ancestor in the individual’s pedigree, likely in the range of 6-10 generations ago," the report read.

The Massachusetts senator first provided the test results to the Boston Globe on Sunday. The test was conducted by Carlos D. Bustamante, a Stanford University professor and an expert in DNA analysis.

Shortly after Warren released her DNA test results, she took to Twitter to ask Trump about the $1 million he promised to donate to charity if she proved her Native American ancestry.

"By the way, @realDonaldTrump: Remember saying on 7/5 that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry? I remember – and here's the verdict. Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center:" Warren tweeted.

Trump denied making that promise and told reporters on Monday: "I didn’t say that. You better read it again.” President Trump, who has frequently mocked Warren's ancestry claims, said "who cares?" when asked by reporters on Monday about his reaction to Warren releasing her DNA results. Later, he added that he said he would only give her the money he promised on the campaign trail if he could administer the DNA test himself.

"That will not be something I enjoy doing either," Trump said.

The ancestry of Warren, a Democrat considered a possible presidential contender in 2020, has been a target for President Trump, who has repeatedly referred to her sarcastically as Pocahontas.

"We have a representative in Congress who has been here for a long time ... longer than you. They call her Pocahontas!" Trump said at an Oval Office event last year honoring Native American code talkers for their service during World War II. His quip at an event paying tribute to Native Americans received swift backlash.

Warren told MSNBC last year that it is "deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur."

Trump makes 'Pocahontas' quip at Navajo code talker event, White House denies it is a 'slur'

The question of Warren's ancestry came up during her first run for U.S. Senate in 2012 when the Boston Herald reported she registered as a minority in law school directories in the 1980s. Warren defended herself by claiming she was told of her Native American ancestry by family members and that the registry entry was for meeting persons with similar backgrounds, rather than to advance her career.

The DNA report notes that it is often difficult to trace Native American ancestry because that population doesn't consistently participate in the types of genetics studies needed to trace ancestry.

However, in Warren's case, her ancestry includes Canadian and Mexican indigenous populations, “as would be expected for Native American ancestry deriving from the lower 48 states of the United States.”

The Bureau of Indian Affairs says that such tests won't help people prove ancestry from a specific federally recognized tribe.

Some Native American advocates say the use of such tests in the midst of an ongoing political debate marginalizes their communities further.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., in a statement obtained by The Oklahoman, said "Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong."

"Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Lawyer for indicted Russian firm says special counsel 'made up a crime'

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An attorney for a Russian firm allegedly involved in the wide-ranging effort to interfere in the 2016 election sought to convince a federal judge this week that his client’s alleged crimes are in fact not crimes at all.

In a hearing in a Washington, D.C. courtroom on Monday, Eric Dubelier of the American law firm Reed Smith argued that the case against the Russian consulting company known as Concord, which allegedly operated a “troll factory” in which the Russians created or stole the identities of hundreds of Americans online in order to sow discord and spread propaganda, should be dismissed.

If people lying about who they are on the Internet and engaging in political speech is a crime, he argued, then every politician in America would be in prison.

“This argument is beyond belief,” Dubelier said. “They want to regulate what people say on the internet.”

It was special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, he said, who “made up a crime to fit the facts they have.”

Concord is one of three business entities and 13 Russian individuals indicted in February by the special counsel on charges related to Russia’s alleged “troll factory” operation ahead of the 2016 election, though the company is the only defendant to actually appear in court. Concord, which prosecutors says is owned by Yevginiy Prigozhin, a Kremlin ally nicknamed “Putin’s Chef,” is accused of one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. They have pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys from the special counsel argue that the conspiracy in which Concord was involved defrauded and interfered with three government agencies specifically: the Department of Justice, the Department of State and the Federal Election Commission, each of which have responsibilities relevant to foreign participation in political activity in the United States.

Prosecutor Jonathan Kravis, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Justice Department’s Washington, D.C. office, countered that the alleged conspiracy went “way beyond” just people talking online. He described it as “coordinated, well-funded, and orchestrated campaign” involving complex “affirmative deception,” including obscuring the source of the disinformation and related financial transactions.

Those efforts were intended, Kravis argued, not to trick just average Americans but also U.S. agencies that might have otherwise regulated their activities. By dodging scrutiny from the Department of Justice, for example, prosecutors say the conspiracy to defraud the government could include the defendants failing to register as foreign agents as they may have been required.

“Those are not acts of political speech,” Kravis said. “Those are acts of deception.”

Kravis also argued that evidence suggested that the defendants were aware of their wrongdoing. He pointed to an email in which one of the Russian nationals purportedly wrote to a family member that the FBI had “busted [their] activity (not a joke).”

In the end, U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said she would take both arguments under advisement as she decided on Concord’s motion to dismiss.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Parkland shooting survivors-turned-activists: 'We are the largest voting bloc in this country'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The young activists who inspired March For Our Lives, have released a book about their fight for gun reform.

Students Emma Gonzalez, Matt Deitsch and Delaney Tarr helped lead a nearly one-million-strong March For Our Lives against gun violence in Washington, D.C., after 17 people died at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

Gonzalez, Deitsch and Tarr on "Good Morning America" Monday talked about the power that young people displayed in uniting for the movement of 800 demonstrations across the globe in March.

"It wasn't meeting the celebrities; it wasn't giving my speech because I blacked out during that--don't remember any of it," Tarr said of the March For Our Lives. "The moments where we were looking out over the crowd and we saw all of these young people together for something that they cared about, that was what motivated us."

Tarr graduated from Stoneman Douglas in June along with Gonzalez. Deitsch was a graduate of the class of 2016, two years prior to the shooting. He was at home from Santa Monica College for his sister's birthday when the tragedy occurred and joined current students in organizing and activism.

In their new book, "Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked A Movement," Deitsch writes about how the funerals he attended in the days following the shooting.

"It wasn't until I went to [student] Joaquin Oliver's funeral where I saw someone I knew younger than me, in a casket," Deitsch explained. "I knew I had to do something. I had to keep fighting for him and for his family and for my community and for people all around the country that deal with this trauma every single day."

As they continue to fight for stricter gun laws, Gonzalez, Deitsch and Tarr also hope to have a more open line of communication with their critics, Tarr said.

"They're not realizing that we're not trying take away the 2nd Amendment," Tarr said. "We're trying to make guns safer. We're trying to create legislation that makes it safer for citizens in our country to live day by day, for students to go to school, for people to go to church, all of those things. It's very much [that] people don't necessarily know what it is that we stand for and when we have those conversations and we get to actually communicate with them face to face, we end up reaching common ground."

Deitsch said one aim is to get young people to vote.

"If young people show up at this election in 2018 and in any election in the future, young people determine the winner, every single time," he said. "We are the largest voting block in this country."

Deitsch added, "The polls are in our direction; the feelings of emotions around the country are in our direction. We are hyping up this generation to actually make history on November 6."

"Glimmer of Hope" is in stores now. The authors are donating all their proceeds from the book to the March for our Lives Foundation.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Trump's claim of 'scary time for young men' is a fear tactic: Alyssa Milano

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Actress and activist Alyssa Milano, one of the first proponents of the #MeToo hashtag when the movement launched one year ago Monday, said President Donald Trump's recent comments that it is "a very scary time for young men in America" was a fear tactic.

Referring to critics of #MeToo who say the movement encourages unproven sexual misconduct allegations against men, Milano told "Good Morning America" on Monday, "I don't know why their concern isn't that boys can also be hurt, molested and sexually assaulted."

Milano, the mother of a daughter and a son, added, "I'm of course concerned for boys, but I'm not concerned for them in the way the president is concerned for men."

She said comments like Trump's are "fear tactics" in response to "white men" being in danger of losing some of their power in society.

Milano also acknowledged, "Women have had it hard for generations and there are going to be false claims. We have to define what that process looks like" and make sure everyone, including the accused, get a "fair shot ... This is all gray area, new territory that we've never faced before," she said.

The former "Who's the Boss" star, 45, tweeted exactly one year ago Monday, "If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'me too' as a reply to this tweet." Within hours, the movement caught fire, racking up more than a million #MeToo tweets in less than a day.

Milano stopped by "GMA" to reflect on the last year.

Saying she never expected that her simple tweet would result in millions of powerful stories, Milano said, "I think we've come a long way ... But, I think we still have a long way to go."

Women have not only been speaking out about their experiences with assault and misconduct, they have been "standing in solidarity with each other, which I think is the most beautiful thing," she said.

Milano said boys need to learn earlier about gender equality and respect for women.

"These lessons of acceptance and equality, we have to teach them at a much younger age," said.

Boys often are taught this in high school, she said, "then to expect them to act with mutual respect in college and I think it's too late."

"Then people go into these jobs after college and you still have that sort of fraternity, sorority mentality," Milano said.

Milano attended Senate confirmation hearings for now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh earlier this month when both he and Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers, both testified. Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations.

She attended with #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who first created the hashtag over a decade ago, and Milano said the testimony from Ford and Kavanaugh was intense and "ran the gamut of emotions" for her.

Later on Monday, to further raise awareness for #MeToo, Milano shared a video that she recorded for her daughter, but never shared publicly.

"One year ago I recorded this for my daughter, explaining why I shared my story of sexual assault," she wrote in a caption of the video. "I never expected to release it publicly. Now, I feel it’s too important not to share. #MeToo. Dear Elizabella, I love you so. I will fight so you don’t have to. Love, mama."

In the 4-minute clip, the actress opens by explaining the times and how woman are starting to share their stories of harassment and assault. Milano gets emotional as she shares her fears for her little girl and actually explains that her original tweet one year ago came from that desire to unite women in order to create a better world for Elizabella.

"In a way, all of this is because of you," she said, breaking down. "I want you to grow up from a strong, little girl into a strong woman that really knows her worth."

Milano's early adoption of #MeToo last year came right after the first reports involving disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein came out in The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Though Weinstein has always denied the numerous accusations of harassment and sexual assault levied against him, the hastag was a lightning rod for many men and women to speak up and join this community.

Lady Gaga, Anna Paquin, Terry Crews, Rose McGowan and many others embraced the hashtag and shared their stories with the world.

Since then, many powerful men and women have fallen from grace and either lost their job or public standing after accusations surfaced. Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Mario Batali and original Weinstein accuser Asia Argento are among the many accused of sexual misconduct or assault in the last year.

Burke, who created the #MeToo hashtag when she launched a non-profit to help victims of sexual harassment and assault, told ABC News earlier this month, "We've never been able to have a sustained national dialogue about sexual violence" until now.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter under fire for ad calling his opponent a 'security risk'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who was indicted in August on charges of using campaign funds for personal expenses, is facing criticism over an ad calling his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a “security risk.”

The ad also accuses Campa-Najjar of changing his name to “hide” his family's connection to terrorism in reference to his grandfather's involvement in the 1972 Munich Olympics terror plot. The narrator says Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was the mastermind behind the attack, although a different member of the terror group that carried out the attack took responsibility in 1999.

The Washington Post fact checked Hunter’s ad and gave it “Four Pinocchios," its worst rating, for failing to mention that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was killed by 16 years before he was born.

The ad also failed to mention that, Campa-Najjar, a Democrat and former Obama staffer changed his name to honor his mother's Mexican family, the Campas. He changed his name years prior to this race, according to the Washington Post.

Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian Mexican American, grew up in a Christian household in San Diego. He worked at the White House under President Barack Obama beginning in 2013 and at the Labor Department until 2017.

According to the Washington Post, he had security clearance for both of those jobs, which required him to pass an FBI background check.

Campa-Najjar has taken to Twitter to defend himself.

ABC News partner FiveThirtyEight gives Hunter a six in seven chance of winning the race.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct152018

Arizonans see 'vital' Senate race as matter of being for or against Trump

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- A colorful primary, a negative ad blitz, national attention and early voting have all been a part of the Arizona Senate race.

But up until now, there’s been one missing piece: a debate.

The two candidates who are vying to win the open Senate seat, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, are finally set to square off Monday night in Phoenix in the only confirmed debate between the two in this race.

Squabbling between the parties over the number of debates -- Sinema asked for two and McSally’s team agreed to just one -- and the congressional calendar that kept the candidates, who are both current members of Congress, in Washington led to the debate being set for Oct. 15, just 22 days before Election Day and five days after early voting started in the state.

Airworthy polling in the race has been limited, but most put the result either within the margin of error or have Sinema with a slight lead, which appears to be shocking McSally.

“The fact that she’s even in the running is just like ridiculous honestly at this point,” McSally said to supporters gathered ahead of a door-knocking event Saturday in Phoenix.

The comment comes after a string of old quotes by Sinema were shared publicly throughout the week, including one where she appears to call Arizonans “crazy,” and another where she likened the Copper State to a “meth lab of democracy.” She and her team have written the quotes off as being taken out of context and the latest instances of McSally and Republicans looking to focus on negative smears rather than the issues.

For Republicans, it’s key to hold on to the seat that is currently held by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who decided not to run for re-election.

George Bingham is a Republican from Arizona who was handing out McSally posters at a rally held for her with Mitt Romney in Gilbert on Friday. Bingham said that he sees this as a “huge, huge election” that has implications that extend far beyond Arizona.

“We have a president that needs all the Republican support that he can get in the Senate,” Bingham said.

“If he wants to get his agenda done, he’s going to need every Republican senator,” he said.

Another Arizona Republican, Scott Weinberg, said that he saw the recent hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, where Flake played a telling role in approving the judge’s recommendation from the Senate Judiciary Committee, as a clear example of why Republicans need to hold on to the seat.

“I think it’s super important given what we just saw with the Kavanaugh confirmation. Things have gotten so cut-throat in D.C. It’s risen to a new level I think that’s just one more vote that we’re going to have to hopefully we can maintain the majority in the Senate,” Weinberg told ABC News at a "Get Out The Vote" event in Phoenix Saturday.

Democrats, however, see the possible flip of the seat from red to blue as a way to thwart Trump and slow down or stop the implementation of his agenda.

Pam Potter, a college professor who was knocking on doors in Peoria on behalf of Democratic candidates, including Sinema, said she thinks this Senate race is one of the “really important” ones this cycle.

“Right now, we have a president unchecked. Right now they [Republicans] have all the houses,” Potter said.

“Kyrsten specifically is a moderate Democrat. She is ready to work on the issues rather than a partisan stance,” she added.

“In many respects, she is the best replacement for John McCain in that she is willing to put the good of the people ahead of ideology,” she said of the longtime Arizona Republican who passed away in August.

Rina Parisi was a registered Republican for her “entire life” before switching after the 2016 election. She said that she is supporting Sinema in this "vital" Senate race because she feels she fits what she sees as the evolving nature of Arizona.

“The demographics here are changing and I don’t think we have the representation of what the demographics are today,” said Parisi, who knows Sinema personally having had the congresswoman as an instructor at Arizona State University. “We’re no longer the Wild West. We have people from all over the country. It’s not just ranchers who only see each other when they go into town for groceries. We need someone who can represent a population that is diverse and I think Kyrsten is the embodiment of diversity.

“The thing that impressed me about her: how well she listens. She cares, and she does the extra footwork for individuals,” Parisi said while attending an Arizona Democratic Party volunteer event.

Given the close nature of the race and the Senate headcount, it’s no surprise that it is attracting national attention. It’s sure to be thrust into the spotlight later in the week as well, as the Trump campaign announced this weekend that the president will be coming to Mesa for a rally on Oct. 19 as part of a “western swing.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio