There are several reasons McSally’s chances have faded, according to the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to freely discuss private conversations. One is a post-election memo her campaign strategists provided to The Washington Post last month, which attributed her defeat in November to external factors. Among them: strong Democratic fundraising, a geographic disadvantage and voter hostility toward President Trump.
The memo sparked outrage inside Ducey’s circle and among broader swaths of influential Republicans, who felt her team did not own up to its strategic mistakes and was trying to deflect blame for her loss to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
There are also concerns about McSally’s standing among Republican donors.
“There is momentum building for an anybody-but-McSally appointment among the Arizona donor community,” said Dan Eberhart, an Arizona-based oil industry executive and donor to McSally’s campaign this year.