Meet Arizona's candidates for US Senate: Martha McSally

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Martha McSally announcing her run for US Senate. 12 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Martha McSally announcing her run for US Senate. 12 Jan. 2018 (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
McSally says some of best ideas come to her while she's exercising. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) McSally says some of best ideas come to her while she's exercising. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A former fighter pilot, first woman to command a United State Air Force fighter squadron. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A former fighter pilot, first woman to command a United State Air Force fighter squadron. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

When you first meet U.S. Senate candidate and current congresswoman Martha McSally, it is clear to see she is always up for a challenge. We caught up with her in central Phoenix as she kept up her daily exercise and running routine.

"Almost like you're punching somebody, you want to go forward like this,” she says as she showed us a modified sit-up.

And she will push you to the limit. She is, after all, a former fighter pilot and the first woman to command a United State Air Force fighter squadron.

But,  while she loves fighting over policy in the nation’s capital, she refuses to become a Washington insider.

[RELATED: McSally doubles down on Trump in GOP primary]

"My mindset is this, that I deploy to Washington, DC," she said. "I used to deploy to other places in the world and fight the fights that matter to us and the missions that we have but now my mindset is that I represent Arizona. I go to DC to fight those fights. I don't want to stay there a minute longer than I need to be there." In fact, she sleeps in her office rather than buying a home or renting an apartment in Washington.

She does, however, love taking a run in the capital.

[SPECIAL SECTIONS: Election 2018 | Arizona politics]

“I get up early in the morning and I run from the Capitol down the National Mall by the Washington Monument and to the Lincoln Memorial," she explained. “I often tell people, ‘I gotta go talk to Abe’. I look back at the Capitol with gratitude instead of frustration. This is one of the most frustrating things I’ve done in my life, but every day I have to release the frustration and replace it with gratitude. "

McSally took up running after her father died; she was just 12 years old.

“I lost my dad when I  was 12 and working out was my therapy and healing…running is part of my emotional and spiritual health," she said. "I spend a lot of time in prayer while I am running. I come up with ideas. I get out my frustrations, sometimes all in the same short period of time. It’s such a part of life that grounds me through the ups and downs of life. I get some of my greatest ideas while I am out exercising."

McSally is also known to "stay on script." But she opened up about one of the most traumatizing moments in her life.

[INFOGRAPHIC: Races to watch in Arizona primary]

McSally says she was sexually abused by her track coach when she was a young girl. It's a painful memory that fuels her to this day.

“When I was in high school, my high school track coach abused that trust with me and some of the other girls and sexually abused me. It was a defining deep wound in my life that really impacted me in very powerful ways like many men and women who've been through that," she said. "I will tell you that instead of holding me back, it deepened my resolve to fight for those who are powerless and to not be powerless again and it really propelled me on a path to make a difference in my life and to break through those things in life that were holding me back so that I could fight for those who are the most vulnerable."

That desire to fight for what she believes is right a hallmark of her character whether she is flying, running, or legislating and that is also what is driving her to run for U.S. Senate.


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