PHOENIX —
Sen. Martha McSally has suggested that supporters could “fast a meal” to donate to the Arizona Republican’s campaign as she fights to fend off a tough challenge from Democrat Mark Kelly.

McSally made the request at a recent event in northern Arizona where she said her campaign needs financial help to counter advertising by Kelly and groups supporting the former astronaut’s campaign, azfamily.com reported.

“We’re doing our part to catch up, you know, to get our message out,” McSally said. “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.”

The remark drew critical attention on social media, while McSally’s campaign said the candidate was just joking about skipping a meal.

“This is a dumb, non-story about a candidate,” Caroline Anderegg, a McSally campaign spokeswoman, told the Arizona Republic. “It is frankly sad and disgusting that the Dems and the Kelly campaign are launching a misleading character assassination on Martha McSally, who would literally give the shirt off her back for anyone.”

Republican businesswoman Christine Jones, who ran for Arizona governor in 2014 and Congress in 2016, called McSally’s fundraising pitch “unconventional.”

“I haven’t talked to (McSally) about it, so I can’t really opine on the specifics. But it does feel like its a little bit of an act of desperation,” Jones said.

McSally trails Kelly in recent polls by anywhere from 5 to 11 percentage points, according to realclearpolitics.com.

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