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Potential McCain Challenger Kelli Ward: Widespread ‘Dissatisfaction’ with McCain Job Performance Among Arizonans

Rising star in Arizona, State Senator Kelli Ward, took time out of her busy late season legislative schedule to give Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle an exclusive interview on the weekly Breitbart News Saturday radio program. Buzz over fresh political leader Ward grows daily with talk that she is the “David” considering taking on threatened political “Goliath,” U.S. Senator John McCain, in the 2016 primary election.

Ward started out telling Boyle she’s “still in the consideration phase,” while she finishes out the current Arizona legislative session. She said this week she’ll be focusing her efforts on her duties in the state Senate.

Turning to a recent McCain fundraising plea, Boyle mentioned that McCain seems “really worried that he might not win” his expected re-election bid to the Senate. Boyle asked Ward, “Why do you think it is that Senator McCain is really worried about re-election prospects?”

Ward didn’t speculate, but offered, “I know here in Arizona there is some dissatisfaction with the representation that’s been going down, at least the last couple of terms he’s been in office. I don’t think that he’s as popular as he used to be, and maybe that worries him that there are people out there looking and thinking and considering jumping into that race.” She continued, “I have to say that I agree with Senator Cruz: It’s time for the next generation of leadership to come in and to put America back on the right path.”

The rising leader listed qualifications for elected officials heading into the future. “I think we are going to need new leadership, fresh new faces at all levels, people with bold ideas, people who have backbones and people who have proven records,” she said.

Boyle recalled when McCain faced primary challenger J.D. Hayworth in 2010, and the Senator aired a border security ad in which he walked along the border and pledged to build “the danged” border fence. But was the fence built?

“I would have to say, there is no danged fence!” Ward told the listening audience in reference to the campaign claim. Not opposed to some virtual fencing, Ward said, “We have got to have a physical fence, we’ve got to have people down there who are able to do that job, and then we’ve got to enforce the laws that are in place.”

“People shouldn’t be coming across our border and then getting lawyers in order to stay in the county for 6, 7, 8, 9 years before they even get a court case, then not show up to that court date because they’re just lost in the United States somewhere.” She continued, “We have to not provide amnesty to the people who have come here and broken our laws and expect to go to the front of the line.”

“Instead of building the danged fence as Senator McCain promised he was going to in 2010,” Boyle added, “He actually was one of the lead sponsors of the Gang of 8 Amnesty Bill.” Given those facts, Boyle asked Ward if immigration would play a significant role in 2016.

“I can tell you that immigration and illegal immigration is still a hot button issue with the people of this state, and I think with the people of this country,” Ward responded. “They’re tired of seeing people break our laws and being rewarded for it.”

Ward reminded the listening audience of all the citizens of foreign countries still waiting to come to America legally, including the family members of some of Ward’s friends. “We have to stress that we want legal immigration. We want people to be able to come here and experience this great country. I want people to be able to live out the American dream.”

McCain doesn’t seem to want to bring attention to the immigration issue, Ward remarked, saying the Senator is likely aware of his unpopularity on the issue with the people of Arizona.

“I think I’ve seen Senator McCain on TV a lot lately, but at times being an apologist for the President’s policies that I think are failing policies.” She told the audience, “I want to see somebody who’s positive, who’s passionate, who’s principled in that Senate seat, working hard for Arizona.”

Boyle moved on to ask Ward more about why the medical doctor chose to get involved in government and run for state senate.

“The thing that pushed me over the edge was Obamacare,” Ward told Boyle. She recognized what she calls as assault on the liberty and freedom of her patients’ healthcare. Ward told the audience that before she ran there were just a few physicians, liberals, who wanted “big medicine,” “big government,” socialized medicine, and “single-payer.”

“I was not able to stop Medicaid expansion in Arizona,” Ward said, “We fought a very hard battle here and lost.” She noted that some Republicans joined state Democrats to push through the entitlement expansion. She went on:

I want to take care of the people who can’t take care of themselves. I want to take care of the poor. I want to take care of the elderly. I want to take care of the little children who are unable to care for themselves. There are people out there who can take care of themselves who are not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, who are not becoming productive members of society, who are not enjoying the success that being economically stable and being self-sufficient can bring, that happiness, that sense of achievement, because we the government are allowing them not to.

Boyle asked Ward what difference it would make to have her bring her perspective as a medical professional that understands healthcare issues to the U.S. Senate should she decide to run and win.

Ward replied, “I think it’s very important to have people from the trenches, not only the people from the ivory tower in the position, people who have actually touched patients,” saying she still practices part-time. After 16 years of experience, Ward said she brings with her not only her experience in primary care and emergency medicine, but also holds a master’s degree in public health with an emphasis in health policy.

Ward aims to “get the government out of healthcare and get people and doctors back together.”

Boyle questioned Ward over the McCain political machine, asking Ward about her recent reference on Mark Levin’s radio program to her potential “David and Goliath” primary challenge to the long-sitting Senator.

Ward reminded the audience that McCain has, “been in office for over 30 years,” who has, “touched most of the political operatives throughout my entire state.” She said McCain “has that political machine in place.”

Countering McCain’s infrastructure, Ward said, “what I have on my side is the grassroots. The grassroots is on fire with the desire to have someone else in that seat.” Ward said she’s reaching out to a number of potential support bases in her contemplation of the challenge and looking into potential financial team members. She acknowledged the uphill battle in building the infrastructure that could rival McCain, pointing out that McCain has been in office before she could even vote.

“I think that people are ready for a change, but not just change for the sake of change, change for the sake of good,” Ward said. “It’s not something to take lightly. It is something that could potentially politically kill me if I decide to do this, but I didn’t get into this to become a politician or have a life in politics.” Ward continued, “If I were to take this on and not win, there’s nothing that Senator McCain and his people could take away from me.”

Ward suggested that part of what makes her different than the typical political class is, “I’m not just out there waiting for my next political opportunity. I’m doing this because I want to represent the people of Arizona. I want government of, for, and by the people. I think you have to be of the people to be able to do that, and I think that maybe Senator McCain kind of lost touch with that, lost touch with being of the people over these last 30 years.”

Those interested in learning more about Kelli Ward and her potential primary challenge of Senator McCain were told they can visit Kelli Ward for Arizona on Facebook, @KelliWardAZ on Twitter. Ward said there is a group called KelliPACUS that is working separately from her as well.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana

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