(CNN)Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward, a Republican, distanced herself Thursday from former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and her primary opponent, controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
“I am distancing myself from Steve Bannon. He’s made some significant mistakes, significant gaffes that are unacceptable to me. I support the President. I support the President’s family,” she told CNN’s “New Day,” referring to Bannon.
The former Breitbart chief fell out of favor with the White House and many Republicans after he criticized members of President Donald Trump’s family in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury.”
Ward pushed back when asked by CNN’s Alisyn Camerotta about Bannon’s previous endorsement of her campaign.
“He was never part of my campaign. He was never an adviser. I mean, he’s not somebody that I reach out and talk to in any way, shape or form. It’s funny that you, and especially the establishment, would love to tie me to Steve Bannon.”
The Republican candidate also downplayed Bannon’s endorsement earlier this week after news broke that the former White House chief strategist has left his post at Breitbart, to which he returned after he left the White House.
“Steve Bannon is only one of many high-profile endorsements Dr. Ward has received,” a spokesman posted on Twitter at the time.
Ward was also asked about controversial comments made by Arpaio to CNN on Wednesday that former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is “phony.”
“I believe that Barack Obama was born here, that he was our legitimate President,” Ward said, but proceeded to criticize Obama’s “illegitimate” policies.
Arpaio told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “Cuomo Prime Time” Wednesday night that there was “no doubt” that Obama’s birth certificate was “phony.”
Arpaio announced Tuesday that he is running for the US Senate seat from Arizona currently occupied by Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term.
In a controversial move, Trump pardoned Arpaio in August, sparing him a jail sentence after the former sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.