Republican critics of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may get their wish of ousting the five-term incumbent in 2016. Reports indicate that his popularity has waned and potential challengers such as State Senator Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) have attracted many supporters.
A recent Kingman Daily Miner article offered a possible pathway to victory for a McCain challenger. Described as having a potentially “fresh approach” to representation in D.C., Senator Ward currently sits as a top contender to primary McCain.
Ward is a family doctor and a military wife serving her second term in the state Senate. The Miner reports she promises to fight to halt the Affordable Care Act, work to secure America’s borders and advocate for smaller government. She has gained formidable support during her time in the senate, sponsoring over 40 bills including support for gun rights and the banning of traffic cameras.
Though she has built strong support, Ward acknowledged her potential fundraising disadvantage against McCain’s big money backing. However, Ward has also expressed belief that she can secure significant funding elsewhere. She told the Miner, “Arizonans are looking for a change after almost 30 years and they are looking for someone who will represent them and their interests.”
Conservative Republican Club of Kingman President Larry Schiff says Ward has been underestimated in the past and he’s not counting her out. “She has become much, much better known than anyone else from this area in Phoenix, and I have often heard of her described as a rising star,” Schiff told the Miner.
Schiff estimates it would take Ward around $10 million to overcome McCain, not an insurmountable task he said, given McCain’s last victory benefitted from the help of leftover Presidential funds that were all but depleted in that fight.
McCain’s history as a Vietnam War veteran and former Presidential nominee have afforded him a great deal of favor in the past. “Up here in Mohave County, we have a strong Ron Paul contingent that detests John McCain,” Schiff told the Miner. Ward reportedly has strong support in that region. But Schiff continued, “In Maricopa County, there are a ton of retired vets who support him.” Should terrorism continue to plague the headlines, Schiff says it will be more difficult to oust McCain. But Schiff says he has learned not to count Ward out calling her a “marvel” in the State Senate.
Political activist Jon Winder, a Kingman libertarian movement leader, told the Miner, “She seems very popular among rural conservatives in Mohave County and that could carry into other rural areas, but the next challenge she faces is the metropolitan areas and the increasing number of Democratic voters in the state.” Ward current Senate district includes Kingman.
According to Schiff, Arizonans are considerably unhappy with McCain given recent polling.
Ward told the Miner that Arizonans “are looking forward for someone to be their voice. Many believe I am that person.”
Speculated McCain challenger, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has come out saying definitely that he will pursue re-election to his own seat in the U.S. House of Representatives instead of taking on McCain.
Among the fellow remaining potential contenders is Representative Matt Salmon. Salmon reportedly polls well against McCain according to Schiff who cited early polling that gives Salmon a 40-34 lead over McCain.
The Miner also threw out Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) as potential competition, but reportedly neither was eager to take on the task.
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