Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “America’s Newsroom,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) endorsed former Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward for the 2018 race to replace now-retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
“Kelli Ward’s a physician like myself,” he said. “I’ve known her for several years. She was active in my presidential campaign. I think she’s a thoughtful leader. She’s somebody who’s an outsider, not a career politician, and I think she’d make a great senator from Arizona. Some in the establishment have dumped on her, and I’m out there to let people know that conservatives are going to unite behind Kelli Ward and I think she has a great chance of being the next senator from Arizona.”
Ward posted news of the endorsement online on Wednesday morning.
— Dr. Kelli Ward (@kelliwardaz) November 1, 2017
A “Team Kelli Ward” Twitter account also posted the news just minutes before that Paul made the announcement on Fox News:
— Team Kelli Ward (@TeamKelliWard) November 1, 2017
The news comes just over a week after Flake’s dramatic, anti-Trump announcement from the Senate floor that he could not win and would not seek re-election in 2018. Flake’s announcement came just one week after conservative radio and Fox News host Laura Ingraham and former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive chairman Steve Bannon held a raucous rally for Ward in Phoenix.
In late September, an insurgent former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore overcame a mountain of millions in establishment money and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked political appointee Luther Strange to win Alabama’s Republican primary runoff election. Moore had the backing of many conservative leaders who also campaign on the ground for him. Among those were 2008 vice presidential nominee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Bannon. The same day as that election, just hours before results came in, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), another prominent establishment Republican, announced he would be retiring.
During the Ingraham-Bannon rally for Ward, Bannon told an enthusiastic crowd that the so-called D.C. establishment disrespects President Donald Trump and his economic nationalist populist agenda. He also said there was a grassroots army building and that was “going to be their money versus your muscle.”
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana