Sen. Martha McSally's campaign launch highlights issues she's ignored


Appointed Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) kicked off her 2020 campaign with an ad that falsely suggests she's been a leader on preexisting conditions and prescription drug prices.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) launched her campaign for her seat on Tuesday with an ad touting her work on prescription drug prices, protections for preexisting conditions, and mental health treatment for veterans. But she has done next to nothing on those issues during the year-plus she's spent in the Senate and her four years in the House of Representatives.

The 3-minutes-and-21-seconds-long spot, titled "Inspire," features footage of McSally talking about her "bipartisan" efforts to improve the lives of these and other people, alongside testimony from her apparent supporters.

A person identified as "Kristen, cancer survivor" touts McSally's alleged work to ensure access to health care. "She's fighting for what's right when it comes to preexisting conditions," Kristen claims.

"I can't walk by a problem," an emotional McSally tells viewers. "We need to bring down the costs of prescription drugs, stop the flow of illicit drugs and human trafficking, and make sure that our veterans get world-class mental health services. Those are just a few things I think we can agree upon in a bipartisan way."

But her record is one of undermining or ignoring many of those issues.


McSally has frequently pretended to be a protector of people with preexisting medical conditions. Politifact debunked this in October 2018, noting that she has repeatedly voted to repeal Obamacare and its protections for Americans with preexisting conditions.

When Congress was considering the "Trumpcare" legislation in 2017 — a bill that would have allowed insurers to charge Americans with preexisting conditions significantly more money — then-Rep. McSally famously demanded her colleagues pass it.

"Let's get this fucking thing done!" she urged fellow Republicans.

Since joining the Senate, McSally also voted in support of Trump's proposal to allow "junk" health insurance plans that lack preexisting condition protections.

Obamacare, which McSally voted to fully repeal, also included a massive expansion of access to behavioral health treatment. Had she gotten her way, access to mental health treatment and substance abuse recovery would have been ever more difficult.

Despite running for office on a promise to vote against her party more than 20% of the time, McSally has hardly been bipartisan. Over her first 13 months in the Senate, she has voted with Donald Trump more than 95% of the time.

Her support for bipartisan action to lower prescription drug costs is technically true but deeply misleading. After months of claiming to be working on the topic but not actually signing onto any legislation, she announced on Monday that she will support the Grassley-Wyden Prescription Drug Pricing Act. This came less than 24 hours before her video suggested she has been a leading voice on the subject.

McSally, who was defeated in her 2018 Senate race but then appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ) to temporarily fill the late John McCain's vacant seat, will try again to win this November. She is struggling to keep pace against Democratic challenger Mark Kelly and considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.