Sen. Lindsey Graham comes to Arizona to support McSally in Senate race

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham visited Arizona Saturday to join Rep. Martha McSally (R) at a legal and business professionals’ roundtable meeting at the Squire Patton Boggs law office in Phoenix. Graham began the meeting by praising the late Sen. John McCain, with whom he worked closely for many years in Washington, D.C.

“In terms of my knowledge of national security and foreign affairs, whatever I have I owe it to John,” Graham said. “I miss him deeply. He was the best voice for America and who we are. There was no cause hopeless in his eyes.”

Graham said he supports McSally, calling her a “groundbreaking member of the United States Air Force.” Graham, who served 33 years in the Air Force as a lawyer, commended McSally for risking her life as a pilot.

“From a woman’s point of view, she’s done things that were first and has a lot to be proud of, and I think she will be a good defender of those who defend us,” Graham said. “I think she’ll be a good role model for young women throughout the country, not just Arizona. I think she’s reliable when it comes to your wallet. I think she understands the stakes in terms of our national security footprint.”

As a veteran and former squadron commander, McSally has directly fought the enemy, but the best way to combat radical terrorism is to get involved and make education a priority, Graham said.

“The terrorists offer a ‘glorious death,’ and our job is to offer a hopeful life,” Graham said. “The worst thing you can do to the terrorist is to build a small schoolhouse in a remote region in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, to educate a poor young girl and give her a voice for her children.”

Graham said he supports McSally because she’s been “willing to die” for the things that are most important: The American Dream, education, safety and the rule of law.

“It’s easy to talk about it, it’s hard to actually fight for it,” Graham said. “But she gets the big picture, too, that America must lead. America must set the example.”

McSally said she was honored and grateful to have Graham there as her “wingman” in what she considers to be a fight for Republican values.

“We’ve got a lot of consequences on the table here, for the country and for the state, related to this election,” McSally said. “We are absolutely down to the wire here.”

Many people have already voted, but more work will be necessary to ensure a win for the Republican side, and this race is crucial if Republicans want to maintain a majority in the Senate, McSally said.

“I want to make sure you know why I fight,” McSally said. “Not just that I fight — because I am a fighter — but why I fight. I benefited from the American dream that only comes in this country.”

McSally reminisced about her father, who she said grew up in bad circumstances but was offered help from businessmen in his community in the form of a work-study scholarship; with that, he went to college, joined the Navy and used his G.I. Bill to attend law school.

When McSally was a child, her father ran for head of the school committee for her local public school district and won, an event that McSally said benefited her life. McSally’s father died of a heart attack when she was 12 years old, an event she said turned her life “upside-down” and impacted her future career path.

“(My dad) was driven to make a better life for us,” McSally said. “I didn’t know any of this at the time, but he was just very driven. Like give back in service, service to others, do something that matters with your life, be purposeful.”

McSally said she “can’t stand the politics” in Washington but believes it is in a veteran’s nature to act if they see a need for change. She also said her time as an A-10 Warthog pilot in the Air Force made her feel “blessed” to fly in combat and “break barriers for women.”

McSally said her father’s untimely death at 49 years old made her consider what she wanted to do with her life and gave her a greater sense of purpose. She urged the people attending the meeting to get out to vote and encourage others to do the same.

“We still need more support,” McSally said. “It’s not about me; it really isn’t. I’d be honored to be Arizona’s senator, our 12th senator ever in history, but I think this is about what Arizona wants to choose for their future.”

Graham Bosch

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