Kelli Ward's upstart campaign to defeat Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake in the GOP primary is downplaying scathing critiques from two surprising sources — her own former campaign aides.
Ward's chief strategist Dustin Stockton and press secretary Jen Lawrence resigned from the campaign and then went public with their grievances against their former candidate.
“After running her campaign, we’ve realized that our successful efforts to legitimize her campaign was a mistake,” Stockton said in a released statement.
“Her campaign was such a disaster that we saw an opportunity to prove how much we can help struggling campaigns and we did just that,” he added. “Unfortunately, she showed that she isn’t up to the task of standing up to the pressure that causes so many candidates to betray voters when they get to Washington.”
Stockton also told the Daily Caller that he believed Ward was not ready to take on foreign policy decisions with global implications. He added that Flake wasn't really that bad in terms of policy, "except for his opposition to Trump."
Lawrence posted several missives on her social media account.
What does Ward say about the criticisms?
A spokesman for the Ward campaign said they were not too concerned with the resignations or the statements of derision.
“We’re going to put together something,” the spokesman told the Daily Caller. “It’s not a big deal, honestly. We’re not putting out any kind of official statement.”
How did Flake respond?
Flake responded to the developments from his social media account, tweeting, "Hmmm. Is this an endorsement?" and quoting from the statement, "Jeff Flake hasn’t been all that terrible except for his opposition to Trump.”
Hmmm. Is this an endorsement? “Jeff Flake hasn’t been all that terrible except for his opposition to Trump” https://t.co/SZilcHw6oi
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) October 19, 2017
"Not an endorsement [Sen. Flake,] but if you'd meet us on camera for a respectful interview without preconditions, maybe," Stockton said on Twitter. "Reach out to us."
Ward, a former Arizona state senator, has been endorsed by Trump supporters Stephen Bannon and Laura Ingraham.