>> I have and always been true to who I am. And I have spent my life in service to our great country.>> Republican voters in Arizona picking former fighter pilot Martha McSally on Tuesday as their candidate for one of the most hotly contested Senate seats in the country.
Choosing electability over conservative purity.>> I'm Andy Sullivan in Tempe, Arizona. Where McSally supportes are celebrating her commanding victory over two more conservative candidates. Republican leaders back in Washington have to be pleased as well. Happy that voters are lining up behind someone they see as the best choice for what is sure to be a bruising battle in the months to come.
It's one of a handful of races that can determine which party ends up with the control of the Senate next year.>> Yeah, with electability, it's definitely something we need right now. We need somebody that can be able to grab those middle ground moderates.>> McSally is the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat.
Now serving in the House of Representatives, she'll face Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the November election. The two women battling to succeed retiring Republican senator Jeff Flake, a high profile critic of President Trump. McSally a one-time opponent of Trump as well, calling his treatment of women disgusting during the 2016 election.
Now she's emphasizing her support for the president, playing down her efforts in Congress to find common ground with Democrats on healthcare and immigration.>> I've worked closely with President Trump to cut taxes for working families, create jobs, secure the border, honor our veterans. And when I'm in the Senate, I'll work with him to confirm judges who uphold the Constitution.
>> McSally defeating former county sheriff Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner who won a criminal pardon from Trump last year. Also defeating former state senator, Kelli Ward, who courted the far right and blasted Flake and the state's other senator, John McCain, as disloyal to Trump. McCain's death on Saturday casting a long shadow on the election.
Ward drawing widespread criticism for suggesting that McCain's family ended his medical treatment to hurt her campaign.>> Now I understand, I do understand how many could have misconstrued my comments as insensitive and for this, I apologize.>> Republicans have dominated Arizona politics for decades. Tonight there's a clear sign that may be changing.
Officials saying it's very high turnout for this primary election, much of that driven by Democratic votes. Keep an eye on this race in the months to come. It could tell us a lot about where the country as a whole is headed.