Arizona GOP Under Fire After Promising to Stop Senate Candidate ‘Dead in His Tracks’

September 7, 2019 Updated: September 7, 2019

The chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party has been criticized after she sent out a fundraising email promising that the party would stop Mark Kelly, a Democratic Senate candidate, “dead in his tracks.”

Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward came under fire after she sent an email on Sept. 5, expressing the party’s desire to defeat the “gun-grabber” candidate. Kelly, who is a retired astronaut and husband of former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords—who was shot during a mass shooting in 2011 that killed six people—is running on a platform that supports gun control.

“Support the Republican Party of Arizona today and, together, we’ll stop gun-grabber Mark Kelly dead in his tracks,” Ward wrote in the email, reported the Associated Press.

Following the circulation of the email, Kelly’s spokesperson, Jacob Peters, slammed Ward, calling the email a “dangerous rhetoric” that “has absolutely no place in Arizona.”

“This dangerous rhetoric has absolutely no place in Arizona and is what’s wrong with our politics,” said Peters, according to the news wire. “Mark Kelly is running for Senate to overcome this type of nasty divisiveness that does nothing for Arizonans.”

Ward has taken to social media to defend her email, calling the accusations “utterly ridiculous.”

“Utterly ridiculous! 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,” Ward wrote on Twitter on Sept. 6.

“Dishonest stories like this are dangerous and irresponsible!” she added.

In a separate post, she posted a photo of a dictionary of idioms with another photo of the definition of the idiom she used.

“Just arrived in the mail. Ordered another 20 copies for friends in the media who apparently didn’t major in English,” she wrote.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) came to Ward’s defense, writing on Twitter: “Remember leftist fake news rules: (1) When conservatives use idioms, metaphors and analogies take the words literally and out of context to create outrage. This is as silly as it gets. The use of such idioms is well known and @yvonnewingett comes off as a tool.”

He continued by saying, “Differentiating between idioms, slang, analogies and metaphors from statement of facts is learned in child hood. For supposed adults to feign ignorance as to @kelliwardaz meaning is a demonstration of ignorance. Ignore #FakeNews and it’s handmaidens of stupid outrage.”

Kelly, who is also a retired Navy combat pilot, announced that he was running for Senate back in February. According to his campaign website, the key issues he is focusing on are economy and jobs, healthcare, and veterans. After his wife was shot in the head in the 2011 mass shooting, the couple formed political action committee “Americans for Responsible Solutions” that advocates for gun control. The organization eventually joined with Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2016 and is now known as Giffords.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan