The Latest: Ex-Ward staffers slam her on fundraiser eve

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

Two former campaign staffers for U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward are slamming her on the eve of her campaign kickoff fundraiser.

Former chief strategist Dustin Stockton and press secretary Jennifer Lawrence issued an apology Tuesday for “helping legitimize” Ward’s candidacy. They worked for the campaign from May through September. They say Ward was considered an unelectable fringe candidate before they took over.

Talk-show host Laura Ingraham is set to headline a Tuesday fundraiser for Ward and former White House strategist Steve Bannon reportedly plans to attend the Scottsdale event. She’s trying to knock off Republican Sen. Jeff Flake in next year’s GOP primary.

Stockton and Lawrence say they have a responsibility to activists to “prevent another heartbreak at the hands of a politician’s blind ambition.”

Ward spokesman Zach Henry declined comment.

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3 a.m.

U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward is getting some big-name help as she works to knock off fellow Republican Jeff Flake in next year’s GOP primary.

Conservative talk-show host Laura Ingraham is set to headline a Tuesday fundraiser for Ward amid reports that former White House strategist Steve Bannon may also attend the Scottsdale event.

Ward needs to beef up her fundraising after a strong third quarter showing that also left her short of cash. She raised nearly $700,000 in mainly small donations but ended the quarter with just $250,000 in the bank.

Flake raised $1.1 million last quarter and has $3.4 million on hand.

Bannon has been attacking Republican lawmakers who don’t fully back President Donald Trump and his appearance could give Ward a big boost among Trump’s Arizona backers.

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