“Believe me, I know this is a David and Goliath story,” Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) told national radio host Mark Levin. Her interview centered around the possibility that Ward may challenge Republican establishment incumbent Senator John McCain in a 2016 primary.
Levin describes Ward as a “constitutional conservative,” recalled her work at the Assembly of State Legislatures meeting, and remarked that he considers her less-than-lengthy political career an asset.
“I am a family physician and very, very proud of that,” Ward began. “I’m definitely not a career politician. I’m somebody who I never thought I would be into politics. I can tell you I was involved in medical politics, but that was regarding my profession and my livelihood.”
She then explained that ObamaCare encouraged her to enter politics.
“It [Obamacare] was such an offense to me that the federal government was gonna try to take over my patients and their freedom, their liberty, their ability to get the kind of care that they want and need,” she said. She described the “blood sweat and tears” she spent working to become a doctor. That propelled Ward to run for office as the Senator for the 5th district of Arizona.
Levin broadened the conversation. “The Republican Party, the bureaucracy in Washington, talks all the time about we have to reach out to women we have to reach out to minorities and yet when conservatives offer themselves in Republican primaries to a man, they back the incumbent. It’s just remarkable that their propaganda does not match their actions.” He asked Ward, “Are you seriously considering getting into this primary against John McCain?”
I am seriously considering it. It isn’t something obviously to take lightly. It is something that is going to take a lot of thoughts, learning, listening, praying, conversations before I can determine if there’s a financial path and a political path that actually could lead to a victory. And believe me, I know that this is a David and Goliath story. Obviously I don’t have the political machine in place, at least not at this time. I haven’t been able to start raising money yet because I’m still serving in the state legislature right now and we’re pretty much prohibited from raising money during our legislative session.
Levin interrupted for a moment. “That is fascinating to me because the Senators are doing it in Washington endlessly.”
Ward continued: “I know that I’m the underdog, I know that it’s not some easy path that I can just say hey pick me I’m a great candidate. I do have to say that you are right about the turn taking.”
“I’ve had people tell me when I decided to run for office that it wasn’t not my turn, it was the presumed incumbent’s turn to be in the Senate. I’ve heard as I contemplate this [challenging McCain for the U.S. Senate seat] that it’s not my turn.”
Ward added, “I think that all this naysaying is detrimental to our party. We have got to get behind the new generation. We have got to get behind the passion, the positivity, the principle that we all want to see in Washington. And that’s going to take a change, not just a change for the sake of change, but a change for good.”
Levin took quickly to the term “new generation” of Republicans, describing them as more articulate, more principled, more conservative, more Reaganesque. “This is the new generation of Republicans,” he agreed.
Ward added, “If we want the status quo obviously there’s plenty of people out there who are willing to offer that to us.”
Levin touched on what is considered by some to be McCain’s strongest asset, foreign policy. “People will say we will lose John McCain’s expertise. Now I don’t see how, don’t we have professional generals and professional admirals and other people in the Senate and the House with that expertise who are not weak on border security and not weak on a whole host of other issues?”
“I think that we have more than enough experts who actually are out there doing something, not just talking about it,” Ward concurred. “I will tell you that I’ve seen the shift back to the conservative Senator,” speaking of McCain, suggesting it is a temporary change. “I haven’t seen enough fight against ObamaCare,” which she’s fought at the state level.
As for Arizona’s “huge unsecured border,” Ward says, “Senator McCain at times it trying to tell us is more secure than ever.” To those that suggest moving away from the issue of immigration enforcement, she said, “I can tell you that my constituents in my district and throughout this state care about border security. They want a secure border, they want us to follow our existing laws and they do not want amnesty for people who came here illegally and are going to the front of the line. Those are things I will stand up for if I decide to run for this office.”
Levin pointed out the problem of fundraising. “Millions and millions” of dollars will be racked up while party bureaucrats throw support behind McCain. He said they will spend 12 months trying to convince voters that he’s conservative, will stand up for them, wants to secure the border and is independent among other things. He said such candidates go to Washington after being elected and do just the opposite. “He’s already done that, he’s done it several election cycles,” Levin said of McCain.
Ward reminded the audience that McCain has been in office for over 30 years. “When you’ve been there a long time it’s very easy to lose touch with the people you represent. I think that we need people who are of the people, who are those people, who are in Washington representing us so we get government for, of and by the people. Right now we’re getting D.C. represented in Arizona, rather than Arizona represented in D.C.” Ward concluded, “I’d like to see that change.”
Levin ended the segment saying he hopes that Ward jumps into the race.
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