Oct 10, 2018, 8:16 PM ET

Arizona Senate race's negative ad blitz takes a nuclear turn

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The race to fill a Senate seat in Arizona has gone nuclear.

Some Arizona residents have been sent a negative ad that broke new ground in the battle raging between Rep. Martha McSally and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, the two candidates fighting to take outgoing-Sen. Jeff Flake's seat.

PHOTO: A conservative PAC called Defend Arizona sent this mailer out to some Arizona residents, which at first shows Phoenix and then, when tilted, shows a nuclear mushroom cloud in the citys place.Defend Arizona
A conservative PAC called Defend Arizona sent this mailer out to some Arizona residents, which at first shows Phoenix and then, when tilted, shows a nuclear mushroom cloud in the city's place.

The front of the mailer is a hologram, which at first shows an image of Phoenix that, when tilted, reveals a mushroom cloud over the city, as if it had been targeted in a nuclear attack.

The ad reads "KYRSTEN SINEMA WON'T KEEP ARIZONA SAFE." On the back, it points to Democrat Sinema's "liberal ideology" which the ad says "will hurt our national security."

Mailed out across Arizona this week, the ad was paid for by a conservative political action committee called Defend Arizona.

A spokesperson for the group, which is supporting Republican McSally, confirmed to ABC News that they paid for the ad and they feel it was fair.

PHOTO: A conservative PAC called Defend Arizona sent this mailer out to some Arizona residents, which at first shows Phoenix and then, when tilted, shows a nuclear mushroom cloud in the citys place.Defend Arizona
A conservative PAC called Defend Arizona sent this mailer out to some Arizona residents, which at first shows Phoenix and then, when tilted, shows a nuclear mushroom cloud in the city's place.

The Sinema campaign blasted the ad and said it was the latest in a string of false attacks.

"This mailer is another example of why Arizona newspapers said Congresswoman McSally is stuck in a ‘downward spiral,’" Sinema campaign spokesperson Helen Hare said in a statement.

"Congresswoman McSally and her backers are using these ridiculous lies and attacks because she can’t defend her record of hurting Arizonans," Hare said.

A spokesperson for the McSally campaign did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

PHOTO: U.S. Senatorial candidate, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, speaks with volunteers in Phoenix, Aug. 21, 2018.Matt York/AP, FILE
U.S. Senatorial candidate, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, speaks with volunteers in Phoenix, Aug. 21, 2018.

The mailer is drawing inevitable comparisons to the infamous "Daisy" commercial from the 1964 presidential campaign. That ad, by Democrat Lyndon Johnson's campaign, featured a little girl picking petals off a daisy, followed by an ominous voice counting down to the image of a nuclear bomb exploding. The suggestion: that the "hawkish" Republican candidate, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, would involve the U.S. in a nuclear war.

Barrett Marson, a spokesperson for Defend Arizona, said: "I'll let other people draw their own conclusions on that."

"The mailer is designed to point out that ... there are issues with Kyrsten Sinema and her national defense qualifications," Marson said.

PHOTO: U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who is running against U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, for the senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, talks to employees at a crane manufacturing and training facility, in Phoenix, Oct. 3, 2018.Matt York/AP, File
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, who is running against U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, for the senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, talks to employees at a crane manufacturing and training facility, in Phoenix, Oct. 3, 2018.

Marson said that Defend Arizona has received contributions from local and national donors, as well as some money from the Senate Leadership Fund, which has links to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Federal Election Commission filings report that the SLF has donated at least $3.2 million to Defend Arizona.

The negative ad blitz is not likely to end, as early voting started on Wednesday in Arizona and the race is believed to be very close, potentially within the margin of error, according to recent polling.

ABC News's John Verhovek contributed to this story.

News - Arizona Senate race's negative ad blitz takes a nuclear turn

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CComments

  • Donna L.

    McConnell’s message to the American people: “If you keep us in power we’ll cut your health care, gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to pay for our tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and, heck, we might even cut their taxes further.”

    So, they won't roll back the tax cuts to the top 1% and the billions of dollars that added to the national debt.

    Instead they are coming after your social security. If you vote for a GOP senator in Arizona then they will vote to support McConnell's efforts to roll back medicare. Think about that.

  • tom White

    Democrats want everyone on Medicare,, People as a whole think Medicare is free, but it cost me $4200 a year with the supplemental insurance. Cost the same for the wife, That is over $8k for a couple, Medicaid is free, but paid by the taxpayers.. for the poor.. Obamacare is close to same as Medicare, but with a HUGE deductible.

  • Thomas

    Anyone old enough to remember LBJ's "daisy" ad?

  • molimelight

    I'm surprised she didn't show a man of Hispanic heritage riding the bomb down ala Slim Pickins in Dr. Strangelove.

  • cammosutra

    Donald Trump made our country safe from North Korean nukes. He said he did anyway.

  • ReviewTheFacts

    To use the nuclear images is to offend everyone who has been directly or indirectly affected by it. I doubt that voting Democratic will lead to nuclear war, but if Donald Trump continues unrestrained, we might just get World War III.

    In my current home in Nevada, there is a campaign by the committee to keep Republicans in power, and it goes something like: There's a deep plot that California is trying to take over Nevada, paid for by out of state money (never mind the barrows full of money for that very ad came from Republican supporters from the Midwest and elsewhere).

    Take my advice, don't believe ANY of the ads. Do your research, look up the names of the people who are running in your state, and find out what they're really for and against, what the missing elements in those misleading ads, and then and only then cast your ballot.

    Any PAC could be Russian funded, and any PAC may be billiionaires trying to blindside us to the fact that, if the tax situation isn't addressed soon, we'll all be left holding the bag and broke, while the rich and mega corporations go elsewhere to fleece another flock.

  • Smedley D Butler

    Wow! Really? A Trump supporter/lapdog will make us safe from nuclear war? Like The Don himself said about nukes: "What's the use of having them, if you can't use them?"

  • Scott Gore

    Yep. Nukes are headed our way. It's good to tap into those ads from 54 years ago to make your point. Really forward thinking.

  • AngeredVoter

    Just more faux Christian conservatism at work.

  • ogrot

    Context was what mattered for the Daisy ad. It was two years ago the world seemed on the brink of Nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The US was in the midst of entering another shooting war with Communist proxies in Vietnam, so the concern over security and nuclear war were salient points for the time, meanwhile Barry Goldwater was on the campaign trail bragging about his willingness to use nuclear weapons to make the communists behave, and that was why the ad was effective.

    Few, today, are worried about the US entering a nuclear war despite the fact that the risk of such really hasn't changed much over the last fifty years. And if anything people are concerned with an over aggressive trump pushing too many chips on wild bets than they are on namby pamby liberals getting us in nuclear war because they're too gentle, too cowardly, too nice. Which isn't even an argument that makes coherent sense. Wouldn't it be more logical to demonstrate that America would be bullied by dictators getting to eat our lunch because namby pamby liberals like Kyrsten Sinema will be cowering in fear? You see the disconnect with this negative ad mailer? Amateur hour I tell you.

  • Donnie The Lion

    Republicans are the worst plague ever inflicted upon the Earth. They prove it EVERY DAY.

  • Nick

    Republicans can only campaign on fear and doubt instead of talking about what they would do while in office.

  • merman1122

    Signs that McSally/GOP is desperate and running scared, has nothing of substance to offer Valley but fear, loathing, hate and distortion. Ad also reminds us that UNSTABLE Fake Put in 45 puppet, with unfettered push-button access to our nuclear weapons codes is the REAL threat to start WWIII and destroy us all.

  • Clyde Delgato

    When people try to make their point this way...when they rely on blatant and unreasonable fear tactics or smear tactics, baseless claims...The people they are insulting are the voters they are targeting. They are quite simply assuming the people of Arizona are mostly morons. If it sways votes as intended than I suppose their assumption was proven true.

  • Real Deal McNeal

    Negative ads are flying fast and furiously this election season and the majority are from the Republican/conservative end of the spectrum. It's almost as if they are worried about something...

  • TexasVulcan

    There are many similar attack ads against Beto O'Rourke in Texas. And O'Rourke continues to run a positive campaign, talking about issues and refraining from running ads attacking Cruz.

  • JuPMod

    Wow. Sounds like Republicans are desperate, if they made such an ad. I find it silly to think that any American politician, regardless of party, would even threaten America's security to allow the nation to be targeted by a nuclear strike. Would Republicans like it if Democrats made such an ad on them? No, so why make such a lying ad to paint a Democrat in such a way? These attack ads are really going too far.

  • Eric Janssen

    Y'know, maybe it was because that LBJ-vs-Goldwater ad in the 60's was banned, that DA was so eager to fan-plagiarize it?

    (In case you're wondering, it's third-party drive-by PAC-ads like these that are the reason we have the bill that requires "I approve this ad" today.
    That way, Sinema can pretend she had nothing to do with it...Note the vague "Well, maybe the VOTERS will like it!" defense.)

  • Nearl56 12

    Nothing quite like desperately going ludicrously over the top.

  • wizbing

    "There are issues with her defence qualifications" says the republican jackass. What are Trump's "defence qualifications" jackass? He doesn't even read the daily intelligence reports, which is part of the president's job. Jackass.

  • Fatesrider

    I wouldn't even begin to imagine putting out an ad like that. Why not? Because I'm not a psychotic sociopath - which is what someone would have to be to dream up an ad like that in the first place.

    So, it seems that if this is endorsed by the people who put it out, they have to agree that being a psychotic sociopath is a good thing for Arizona.

    Personally, I don't see things that way.

  • Jan515

    I see the latest poll out today has McSally up by 6 points on RCP. Her opponent needs to get her homeless story figured out as exposed by the New York Times.

  • Gmh Gmh

    Disgusting, negative ads by both parties just turn me off the candidates that put them out.

  • lou g

    Senator McCain must be turning over in his grave.