The primaries haven't been held, but Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Republican John McCain aren’t waiting for official wins to take each other on.
McCain, a Republican from Arizona, is seeking a return to the Senate and Kirkpatrick, who represents Arizona's first congressional district, is trying to take his place. Their strategies link their opponents to the person each other's party loves to hate: Kirkpatrick is connecting McCain to presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and McCain is linking her to President Barack Obama. Party primaries are in August.
Kirkpatrick planned to launch an online ad Tuesday to Spanish language and bilingual audiences. The ad, made available to NBC News, is in English but has subtitles in Spanish. It intersperses statements by McCain on immigration and immigrants and Donald Trump. The plan is to take it to television.
“What it shows is that McCain has certainly changed after 33 years in Washington and Arizona ... those in the Latino community and families, deserve someone who is going to stand up to Donald Trump, not align themselves with him,” said D.B. Mitchell, spokesman for the Kirkpatrick campaign.
The ad shows footage from a 2010 McCain ad in which he says “complete the danged fence” while walking along fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border with a sheriff. Trump has called for building a border wall.
Also in the ad is a clip of a reporter asking McCain if he’d like Trump to retract the statement Trump made about Mexicans bringing drugs and crime and being rapists, when he announced his presidential bid. The clip shows McCain responding, “Oh, I don’t know.”
In that same interview, McCain said Trump should retract his statement that he likes “people that weren’t captured.” That was a reference to McCain who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The ad leaves out the rest of his answer to the reporter's question that the party needed to understand the importance of Hispanics in the country.
“Trump’s statements were very clear and blatant and offensive and he said ‘I don’t know.’ He can add whatever caveats he wants, but the bottom line is he didn’t take (Trump) on,” Mitchell said.
Meanwhile, the McCain camp on Tuesday released a television ad linking Kirkpatrick to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
It is being shown on eight stations in Phoenix. Lorna Romero, McCain’s spokeswoman, said the buy was for $120,000 and also is running online.
The ad says Obamacare is failing Arizonans. It uses an audio clip of Kirkpatrick saying her vote for the health insurance law is one she is most proud of.
Told of the Kirkpatrick ad, Romero said it was “dishonest” and that Kirkpatrick was "trying to take attention off herself and how she is a rubber stamp for President Obama and the liberal establishment.”