McSally turns to Senate Leadership Fund as she prepares for Senate run

Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is on the verge of declaring her candidacy for Jeff Flake’s (R-Ariz.) Senate seat, and she won’t be short of support within the donor ranks, which includes the backing of one the most influential super PACs, the Senate Leadership Fund, FOX Business has learned.

Officials within the PAC, dedicated to maintaining a Republican majority in the Senate, have privately informed McSally that she will receive their support when she jumps into the race for Flake’s soon-to-be-vacant seat, according to sources familiar with the matter. The CEO of the fund, Steven Law, has personally spoken with McSally and recently told her, “she's the ideal candidate” and he would “definitely back her,”according to a person close to the PAC.

A spokesperson for the Senate Leadership Fund declined to comment about its support for McSally. A spokesperson for McSally did not return requests for comment.

McSally all but declared her candidacy for Flake’s seat after he announced he was retiring in October. Since then, she’s courted numerous donors including Randy Kendrick, the wife of Arizona Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick, according to McSally campaign aides.

McSally also did not deny she was going to run for Senate when she was asked by Trish Regan on FOX Business Wednesday whether she’s prepared to declare her candidacy. “We have an important announcement coming out on Friday so stay tuned,” she said, declining to comment further.

The addition of the Leadership Fund to McSally’s fundraising arsenal, however, could give her a colossal advantage in campaign resources over her opponents in former State Senator Kelli Ward and Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Democrat political strategist Hank Sheinkopf told FOX Business in a phone interview on Wednesday that the funds backing McSally could guarantee her a clear path to victory.

“It will be tough to beat her in the primary and the general now that she has this super PAC on her side. It’s a toss up election,” he said. “It leans Republican but their support makes her the front runner for the time being.”

So far in the 2018 midterm election cycle, the PAC has spent more than $3 million in television advertisements for its allies running for Republican Senate seats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

During the 2016 election, the PAC spent $83 million on TV ads and $4 million on internet attack ads. The PAC was created in 2015 by supporters of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and is now run by Law, a former chief of staff to the Republican leader. Since its inception the fund has been backed by mega donors such as Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman, Las Vegas Sands Corporation CEO Sheldon Adelson and Point72 Asset Management Founder Steve Cohen.

In 2016, Schwarzman and Adelson were some of the funds top donors, with the Blackstone executive contributing more than $2 million and Adelson handing out over $17 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Cohen is the top donor so far this year, giving $2 million to the PAC.

McConnell has not officially endorsed McSally for Senate, but at his end of the year press conference in December he listed her as a candidate even before an announcement was made.

"We've got some great candidates out there and you're familiar with them. Martha McSally, Josh Hawley and we hope to land a few more in the coming weeks," he said then.

A spokesperson for McConnell did not return a request for comment at the time of publication.