Martha McSally gets her first primary challenger, meet Ann Griffin


Arizona’s appointed Senator, Martha McSally, has been trying to cast herself as a feminist voice against sexual assault in the U.S. military. How Sen. Martha McSally wants to prevent sexual assault in the military, and Sen. Martha McSally pushes to criminalize sexual harassment in military, add lawyers for victims.

This is all well and good, but McSally is way late to the game. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has made this her signature issue since 2013, Work on sexual assault in military signals Gillibrand’s evolution and The war in Congress over rape in the military, explained: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has led the Senate fight to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA). Senator Gillibrand has been issuing regular reports on military justice: Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2013); Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2014); Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2015), for example.

McSally was in Congress for two terms since 2014, did she ever support Sen.Gillibrand’s efforts? Not that I recall ever seeing or hearing about. (If you can find anything in the public record to refresh my recollection, please post it in the comments).

What truly undermines McSally’s attempt to cast herself as a champion against sexual assault in the U.S. military is her embrace of the man who has been credibly accused by 24 women of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, Donald J. Trump. Martha McSally’s #MeToo moment revealing she was sexually assaulted when she served in the military loses all its power when she embraces the man who said of his multiple accusers:

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign,” the Republican nominee said during a 2016 rally. “Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over.”

Since the #MeToo movement gained widespread public attention in 2017, the call to “believe women” has become a core part of the fight against sexual harassment and assault. So why doesn’t Martha McSally “believe the women” who have credibly accused Donald J. Trump of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, and instead embrace the man who can fairly be described as a sexual predator after his own admission in the Access Hollywood video from 2005, Trump: “They let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.”

By the way, Trump’s braggadocio squares with advice columnist E. Jean Carroll’s recent account of her rape by Trump,  “Trump attacked me in the dressing room of Bergdorf Goodman”:

When Carroll meets Donald Trump in Bergdorf Goodman, the encounter starts as a friendly one. Trump recognizes her as “that advice lady”; Carroll recognizes him as “that real-estate tycoon.” Trump tells Carroll that he’s there to buy a gift for “a girl,” and though we don’t learn the identity of this mystery woman, Carroll places the ensuing incident in late 1995 or early 1996, during which time Trump was married to Marla Maples. When Trump asks Carroll to advise him on what to buy, she agrees, and the two eventually make their way to the lingerie section. Trump suggests a lace bodysuit and encourages Carroll to try it on; she, deflecting, jokingly suggests that he try it on instead. After they reach the dressing rooms, events turn violent. In Carroll’s account, Trump shoves her against a wall inside a dressing room, pulls down her tights, and, “forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me.”

Trump: “They let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy.” He did get away with it.

The New York Times followed up on E. Jean Carroll’s recent rape allegation against President Donald Trump, speaking with two women who corroborated her account on the record for the first time. Carroll said she confided in two friends at the time, Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, both of whom were in the New York media scene in the mid-1990s when the alleged assault in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room took place. The interview with Birnbach, Martin, and Carroll together was excerpted on the Times’ The Daily podcast. Birnbach and Martin had previously been unidentified and were speaking about the incident for the first time together since shortly after the alleged assault.

So why hasn’t Martha McSally called for a congressional investigation of the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military? Doesn’t Trump’s lifetime of never having been held accountable for his sexual predations send a clear message to military officers that they too can act with impunity towards female subordinates and get away with it? The fish rots from the head, Martha.

Oh wait, that’s right, Martha wanted the “pussy grabber’s” endorsement to head off an anticipated primary challenge in 2020. Martha McSally moves to head off GOP primary challenge:

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally has grown fearful of a 2020 primary challenge in recent days, kicking off a flurry of efforts to protect her at the highest levels of the Republican Party.

In a series of conversations with senior Republicans including President Donald Trump, the senator has raised alarms about Daniel McCarthy, a skincare company executive who helped bankroll Trump’s 2016 campaign. McSally, who was appointed to her seat in early 2019 after losing a 2018 Senate race, faces a treacherous special election next year in a state that’s growing increasingly friendly to Democrats, and Republicans worry that a primary fight will further complicate her prospects.

Now, they are mobilizing to stop it, and the behind-the-scenes activity spilled out into the open on Tuesday when Trump abruptly tweeted out an endorsement for McSally.

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McSally also called Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, to ask for help with the race.

The wheels of the party machinery have begun to whir in response to McSally’s entreaties. The Senate GOP campaign arm produced opposition research on McCarthy. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called McCarthy and asked him to stand down, according to two people familiar with the conversation. And Trump’s endorsement came soon after McSally had stood behind the president in the Oval Office for a bill signing ceremony.

Trump’s endorsement also comes at a key moment for McSally, who is relaunching her 2020 campaign with a different leadership team than she had in 2018. Terry Nelson, a veteran GOP operative with the firm FP1 Consulting, has stepped in as McSally’s lead consultant, taking over that role from longtime McSally strategist Jeff Roe. Roe remains a part of McSally’s team.

Katie Waldman, a McSally spokeswoman, declined to comment specifically on the backstage discussions that led to the endorsement.

“Martha is appreciative of the president’s endorsement. She is thankful for his support in her 2020 election,” said Waldman.

It turns out that the “pussy grabber’s” endorsement is not a magic talisman to ward off a primary challenger after all. Former Flagstaff teacher Ann Griffin challenges Sen. McSally in Republican primary:

A former Flagstaff teacher and business owner is looking to challenge incumbent Senator Martha McSally for the Republican ticket in the race for U.S. Senate.

Ann Griffin, who has managed local political campaigns in the past, will be looking for someone to manage her own campaign as she announced she would be challenging McSally in the Republican primary in 2020.

Griffin has worked as a family involvement specialist at the business she owns, Arizona’s Family Matters, since 1997 and as a teacher for the Flagstaff Unified School District since 2009.

She said she has been politically active and thinking about running for higher office her entire life, but made the decision now because she wants to offer Arizona voters a choice for a different kind of Republican.

Griffin said she has spoken to Republicans who have told her she shouldn’t run because she has no name recognition or money.

“My response to them is that’s exactly why I’m doing this, because I believe government should be of the people,” Griffin said. “We have more than enough white men, altogether enough male and female attorneys, and an adequate representation of former military. So I believe it’s time for a teacher.”

And despite being a Republican, Griffin pointed to the Democratic-held House as an example of how Congress should reflect the demographic make-up of the country, be it through race, ethnicity, gender or other factors.

“I think we are not adequately served by a population in Congress that is limited to lawyers or people of wealth,” Griffin said. “I think for the first time the House of Representatives looks as though I would like it to look.”

Griffin said she feels left behind by a party that has changed since she first became a Republican in the 1970s. As a young woman living in the Midwest at the time, Griffin said she felt she could be a member of the Republican Party while also holding views like being pro-choice.

And Griffin said she doesn’t believe the people who made up that party have disappeared. Instead, they have just become silent, especially since the election of President Donald Trump.

Griffin said she doesn’t know what her chances are of beating McSally for the nomination, but she suspects there are enough disaffected Republicans, independents and moderate Democrats who feel the same way she does to give it a shot.

“I think there’s a need for a more moderate viewpoint in the discussion,” Griffin said.

If she is to win the Republican primary, she may need all the support she can get as many of her beliefs run contrary to where the party stands. For one, Griffin said she has a problem with the fact that McSally is currently a senator at all.

“I thought it was highly inappropriate for our governor to select a person that the voters had spoken very clearly that they did not want as the U.S. senator,” Griffin said. “To appoint her was really a slap in the face to the voters of Arizona. And I’m not running because I’m angry about that. I’m not really angry about that — I’m just stupefied.”

If elected, Griffin said one of her top priorities is finding a way to address the financial situation the federal government has gotten itself into.

What has been done to the federal budget and the ballooning of the deficit is “absolutely criminal,” Griffin said. While balancing the budget was a huge political issue through the mid-2010s, Griffin said she doesn’t understand why it has taken a back seat recently.

“We cannot continue to live in a situation where we have a ballooning deficit. We are chaining our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren to a debt and a financial situation that is unconscionable,” Griffin said.

She said she was shocked and angered by the recently passed tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthiest portions of America and don’t help reduce the deficit. Griffin added she believes people should be taxed based on their income and on the amount of wealth they have amassed.

“We are out on a ledge and no one is paying attention. We cannot continue to live out here and currently we have a president who governs by tweets, who sets policy by tweet.” Griffin said. “We continue to live federally with an unbalanced budget. The budget should be balanced.”

On gun control, Griffin said although she believes in the right to bear arms and has taught riflery, she also thinks every firearm should be registered and there is no need to have assault-style weapons available in the U.S.

Griffin said she believes health care is a basic human right and supports a public option, but said anyone who wants private insurance should be able to keep that.

“I think it’s time for people to step away from the noise and the divisiveness and begin to talk to each other. This isn’t a soccer match, this is our democracy,” Griffin said.

Then there is the guy for whom McSally sold her soul to get the “pussy grabber’s” endorsement. Businessman Daniel McCarthy could challenge Sen. Martha McSally in 2020 GOP primary:

Daniel McCarthy, an Arizona businessman and political newcomer, may mount a primary campaign to run against Sen. Martha McSally for the Republican nomination for Senate in 2020, he confirmed Wednesday to The Arizona Republic.

The Glendale resident is a political unknown, although he has been involved in party politics in his legislative district for years. He is the founder of the Phoenix-based Makeup Eraser company and said he is still exploring a bid, even after President Donald Trump’s emphatic endorsement Tuesday of McSally, R-Ariz.

“I am doing due diligence on a run,” McCarthy wrote in a text message to The Republic Wednesday. “I will be out in DC getting a lay of the land and will be looking into this very seriously. Arizona is craving authenticity.”

A #DemandDaniel: Website briefly appears for Daniel McCarthy, possible GOP challenger to Martha McSally:

A website introducing businessman Daniel McCarthy to Arizona voters popped up briefly Wednesday as he continues to weigh a possible challenge to Sen. Martha McSally for the Republican nomination in 2020.

Around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the website displayed more than a dozen photos of McCarthy with his family and political figures, including with President Donald Trump during his 2016 campaign. Soon after, the website contained only text of his biography.

The Arizona Republic obtained images of the website.

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“Please note that is strictly a Biography webpage about Daniel McCarthy,” the website said. “Daniel McCarthy is conducting due diligence on a campaign currently and is not a committed candidate for any office.”

The site provided a form for visitors to fill out if they wanted to encourage him to run for office, or share concerns or comments.

McCarthy has not filed any paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Get back to me when you are actually a serious candidate, Dude.


  1. “And Griffin said she doesn’t believe the people who made up that party have disappeared. Instead, they have just become silent, especially since the election of President Donald Trump.”

    I wonder, did this person just wake up from a 47-year coma?

    There is *zero* evidence for this and the things she’s decrying in the GOP started *long, LONG* before Trump came along…he’s the *symptom*, not the *disease*.

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