Correction: This story has been updated with the correct name of Kelli Ward's husband.
Arizona US Senate candidate Kelli Ward’s husband has a history of promoting fringe conspiracy theories on social media, a CNN KFile review has found.
Michael Ward, who like his wife is a doctor, is an Arizona political activist and heavily involved in his wife’s campaign for the Republican nomination for US Senate in Arizona in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake. He frequently appears at campaign events, knocks on doors to speak with voters and has even appeared at a local event on his wife’s behalf.
On Twitter, Michael Ward retweeted users who suggested that a murdered staffer of the Democratic National Committee, Seth Rich, was involved in the hacking of the organization’s emails and who implied a conspiracy theory to cover up his death.
Michael Ward also frequently targeted Arizona Sen. John McCain over his age. In July 2016, when Kelli Ward was challenging McCain in a primary, Michael Ward said that McCain “is the weakness frail and scared guy that won’t debate @kelliwardaz.”
Michael Ward also frequently retweeted users who suggested Hillary Clinton murdered her political opponents.
Zachery Henry, a spokesperson for Kelli Ward’s campaign, told CNN in a statement, “Focusing on obscure details of Dr. Ward’s social media activity rather than his impressive profile as a emergency physician and decorated 33-year Air Force veteran is ridiculous and shows exactly why the mainstream media is losing all credibility.”
Kelli Ward is facing Rep. Martha McSally and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the state’s Republican primary, which will be held on August 28. In a recent NBC News/Marist Poll, Ward was trailing the leading candidate McSally by only two points, 30 to 28.
Ward is portraying herself as the candidate who will fight the most for President Donald Trump’s agenda in Washington, whereas McSally is seen as the establishment candidate who will fare the best in the general election against the expected Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
The tweets from Michael Ward reviewed by KFile are just a small snapshot of his overall feed captured from the Twitter monitoring website SnapBird, which only can search the most recent 3,200 tweets and retweets. KFile also reviewed the Twitter picture archiving site Twicsy, which only sporadically archives tweets and retweets with pictures attached.
Michael Ward has tweeted and retweeted more than 36,000 times. Only direct tweets from a user, not retweets, show up in Twitter’s internal advanced search function.
Here’s what Ward retweeted and tweeted:
Spreading conspiracies about a murdered DNC staffer:
In November 6, 2017, Ward retweeted a tweet from actor James Woods about being mocked for looking into the death of Rich. “Wow. This is so powerful. We’ve been mocked forever asking who killed #SethRich? #DonnaBrazile dedicating her book to him is astonishing,” Woods wrote.
Spreading conspiracies about the Clintons killing associates:
In July 2017, Ward retweeted an account implying the that Bill and Hillary Clinton kill their political enemies, which said “These so-called suicides seemingly connected w ppl investigating/testifying against the Clintons almost rival the Bubonic plague of 1348.”
Also in July 2017, Ward again retweeted actor Woods implying the Clintons killed people. Woods shared a story and wrote, “Haiti Official, Who Exposed The Clinton Foundation, Found Dead // #Clintons need an accountant just for the bodies.” According to the fact-checking website Snopes, the story was not true and the official had no ties to the Clintons or their foundation.
That same day, Ward again retweeted Woods, this time in a tweet that mocked CNN for not covering the death of the Haitian official.
In October 2016, Ward tweeted to NBC political reporter Ali Vitali that people boo and scream at the journalists “because you are the corrupt media pandering to Killary…good luck with that.” “Killary” is an epithet used against Clinton by many right-wing conspiracy theorists who allege that she has political enemies killed to advance her ambition.
In July 2016, Ward retweeted an image of former FBI Director James Comey saying he didn’t charge Clinton because “I don’t want to die suddenly and mysteriously.”
In December 2015, Ward retweeted a tweet saying Hillary Clinton, “hates women & climbs over dead bodies in her quest for power #HillaryForPrison.” The image shared with the tweet was a photo of Clinton saying she supported Muslims having a right to “rape and behead women” because “it’s their culture.”
On John McCain:
In July 2016, Ward tweeted an image that alleged McCain met with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and that he funds the enemies of America. The picture was McCain speaking with Syrian rebels, including a man that Ward claimed was al-Baghdadi. In August 2016, Ward retweeted another account sharing the same image and allegations.
In March 2017, Ward claimed on Twitter that McCain “supports, funds, equips and trains #ISIS”
Ward frequently mocked McCain for his age on Twitter. In July 2016, Ward said that McCain “is the weakness frail and scared guy that won’t debate @kelliwardaz.” Also in July 2016, Ward tweeted that McCain was “a senior citizen masquerading as a competent Senator.”
In June 2016, Ward retweeted an image calling McCain a “senile old fart” who “loves illegal immigrants” and “thinks he can make it all okay by calling himself a ‘war hero.’”