As a hard-fought Senate battle continues to heat up in Arizona, Democratic Party nominee Kyrsten Sinema has seen much of her activist record rehashed as part of a negative campaign against her.
One conservative political magazine added to that trend by highlighting one group invited to attend a rally she organized more than 15 years ago.
At the time, the U.S. congresswoman was an anti-war protester who invited the Pagan Cluster, among other groups, to a peace rally on International Women’s Day in March 2003.
According to its website, the group is comprised of witches who believe in nonviolence and the pursuit of peace through the practice of their craft.
The Washington Examiner obtained emails from the time, which indicate Sinema encouraged the witches in attendance to wear “colorful clothing” and prepare to “dance, twirl, and stay in touch with your inner creativity and with the Earth.”
According to the Examiner’s report, Sinema spoke about a similar experience as part of another demonstration later in the year.
She wrote at the time that she was “singing and spiraling in the pagan’s circle only 5 rows back from the police line” during the Miami event.
Advertisers supporting Sinema’s Republican rival, Martha McSally, have used photos and statements the Democrat made during this period in political ads ahead of next month’s primary election.
Sinema has frequently denounced the negative tone of the McSally campaign, including during a debate earlier this week.
“Martha has chosen to run a campaign based on nasty smears and false attacks and I expect you’ll see more of that,” Sinema said at the outset of the televised debate Monday evening.
McSally cited a 2003 radio interview near the end of the debate, suggesting Sinema believed that it was “OK for Americans to join the Taliban” and “OK to commit treason.”
Sinema dismissed her opponent’s characterization of the comments as more evidence of a negative campaign.
“Martha has chosen to run a campaign like the one you’re seeing right now where she’s engaging in ridiculous attacks,” she said.
Following the debate, she spoke to reporters and once again expressed dissatisfaction with the direction McSally’s message.
“I belive that this campaign is about Arizonans, not about the dirty attacks that have come from that campaign,” Sinema said.
Among the Democratic Party’s narrow paths to regaining control of the Senate is one that includes a win in the race for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican.
As of the latest polling, McSally is maintaining a slim lead in the competitive race.
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