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AZ-Sen: New poll shows Martha McSally with 20-point lead in GOP primary race

A new poll shows that Rep. Martha McSally, a Republican hopeful for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona, has a 20-point lead over her two competitors. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Money spent on TV ads for Arizona U.S. Senate hopeful Martha McSally, a Republican, appears to be paying off, a new statewide poll suggests.

What does the poll show?

A survey by OH Predictive Insights showed that 47 percent of those questioned say they support the congresswoman to be the Republican nominee for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.

That represents a 12-point increase from a poll conducted by the same group a month ago, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

Meanwhile, former state Sen. Kelli Ward was polled at 27 percent, the same as one month ago. Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio had his support slip slightly to just above 13 percent in the poll.

Where are donations coming from?

DefendArizona has spent more than $900,000 on commercials supporting McSally, according to the Daily Star. The organization was created specifically to help McSally and is financed by various conservative Republicans, including California billionaire William E. Oberndorf, who donated $150,000.

Other donations include $100,000 each from Tucson car dealer Jim Click; Randy Kendrick, the wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick; and Arkansas businessman Warren Stephens, the Daily Star reported.

Two Delaware limited liability companies, Blue Magnolia Investments and Highway 76 have also each made $100,000 donations. These donations led to a complaint to the Federal Elections Commission by the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center. The complaint maintains that both entities are shell companies set up so that donors can give to McSally without revealing their names.

McSally has also done well with ads purchased by One Nation spotlighting her work with fellow Congressman David Schweikert on securing the border, according to the report.

What else?

Pollster Mike Noble told the Daily Star that new McSally supporters are rising from a group of people who said one month ago that they hadn’t made up their minds.

That suggests McSally will likely find victory in the GOP primary on Aug. 28.

One factor working to her advantage is that this involves a three-way race and means the winner needs a plurality of votes case, not the majority.

Noble also told Tucson.com that nearly 38 percent of those polled said they had already mailed in their early ballots. That means a smaller pool of people who may switch from one candidate to another.

President Donald Trump has not endorsed anybody in this race.

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