Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) told an audience at a recent northern Arizona event that she needed more cash to fight off a tough challenge from her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, according to a clip published Friday by AZFamily.com.
“We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out,” she says in the clip.
“But it takes resources. So, anybody can give, I’m not ashamed to ask, to invest. If you can give a dollar, five dollars, if you can fast a meal and give what that would be,” McSally told the crowd.
AZ Family’s video of McSally’s bizarre plea for cash had 1.3 million views by Saturday morning.
Her campaign insists McSally was just joking and issued a statement saying, “This is a dumb non-story about a candidate making a joke on the stump.”
But the odd attempt at humor has rubbed some the wrong way as restaurants and residents struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is the most tone-deaf fundraising pitch I’ve ever heard,” wrote Matt Rogers, who is running for state office in Virginia.
Caroline Anderegg, McSally’s spokeswoman, accused Kelly’s campaign of exaggerating the story.
“Anyone who is taking this selectively edited clip seriously is being intellectually dishonest,” Anderegg wrote on Twitter.
“Mark Kelly can’t run on the issues so his team is pushing some BS non-story to get RTs. Congrats guys.”
Kelly, a former NASA astronaut and husband to former Rep. Gabby Giffords, is currently out-fundraising and outpolling McSally, according to the news site.
The Democrat had more than double the campaign cash on hand by the last filing period at the end of June.