Jeff Flake's Republican Senate primary challenger has responded to backlash over an ill-timed campaign email appearing to monetize off of Flake's presence at a shooting that sent his congressional colleague, Steve Scalise, to the hospital.
Dr. Kelli Ward's campaign email, sent hours after Flake escaped the baseball field unscathed, was first flagged by AZCentral.com. It reads:
Date: June 14, 2017 at 3:08:20 PM EDT
Subject: GOP Whip Steve Scalise shot by gunman at baseball practice
Reply-To: [email protected]
"The #NeverTrump globalists are rallying to defend one of their most prominent members... Sanctuary Senator Jeff Flake
Mitt Romney and the Flake will be traveling around Arizona this weekend trying to raise money because they can see the incredible momentum that our campaign is building. They can see the writing on the wall: people are rejecting their ‘America Last’ policies and Flake's days in the Senate are numbered.”
The email then links to her website where readers can donate to her campaign.
Following backlash to the email, Ward said in a statement to Independent Journal Review:
"There was a mix-up in yesterday’s email newsletter where it appeared we were attacking Senator Flake over the tragic shooting in Virginia yesterday.
In our regular newsletters, the latest news stories automatically load on the newsletter but somehow loaded in the wrong order, and a two-week old story was still at the top. Naturally, my opponents all seized on this and tried to get some free-earned media off it.
I want to note that although there is a “donate” button on the bottom of this, and all my emails, there was no written request for money. Anyone who thinks I would even consider raising money off this horrible tragedy is just being silly.
Mistakes happen, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight."
Prior to her primary against Flake, Ward unsuccessfully tried to unseat Sen. John McCain.