PHOENIX - Even with Sen. Jeff Flake stepping down, Republican Kelli Ward faces a rough road ahead for election to the U.S. Senate, and she's calling possible new challengers "vultures."
In this Republican-dominated state, polls are showing a Democratic candidate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, would beat Ward in a general election if it were held today.
"We have someone [Sinema] who's a hard worker - that you've got is kind of the darling of the Democrat party where money is just falling out of the sky for her," said former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham. "The numbers would show - and Kelli Ward knows the numbers - that they show she loses to Kyrsten Sinema."
With Flake's exit and those polls, GOP party faithful are clambering for another Republican to get into the race. Names being chatted about include Graham, Rep. Martha McSally, and Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit.
"Now that there's a carcass down the vultures are circling," Ward said while describing potential challengers.
"One way she's going to differentiate people is by calling them names, and what we look at her as this opportunist," Graham said. "It's more of this blind ambition and wanting to be a senator so badly - we saw people on her team leave and actually apologized to America."
In her interview with ABC15 Tuesday, Ward spoke about those former staffers for the first time publicly.
"It's very unfortunate that people who were fired for not being able to do their jobs, who were unable to function in a professional environment, would go to these lengths," Ward said.
There are two other Republicans who have declared their candidacy. They are revenge porn website founder Craig Brittain and pharmacist Nicholas Tutora.
Other declared Democrats are attorny Deedra Abboud, airshow pilot Bob Bishop, retired judge Richard Sherzan, attorney Chris Russell, and businessman Jim Moss.