Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) confirmed Saturday that he will not run to replace John McCain in the U.S. Senate, as Maricopa county Republicans voted for a second time to reject the entrenched incumbent McCain.
Rumors have been circling about whether Schweikert would reconsider a run against McCain in light of pressure from political organization Freedomworks, but insiders told Breitbart News that a run was not going to happen.
“Look, we took it seriously. We built spreadsheets,” Schweikert told the Arizona Republic on Saturday. “The polling was amazing, but we came to the conclusion that we’re just not seeing the money to do it.”
Dr. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona State Senator, raised over half a million dollars in the first quarter of her campaign to replace McCain — more than any first time U.S. Senate candidate in recent history except Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
McCain campaign spokesperson Lorna Romero said in a statement to the Republic, “We are focused on sharing John’s record of accomplishment and showing Arizonans that, even if we don’t agree on every issue, they have a home within our campaign and within the Arizona Republican Party.”
Maricopa county Republicans voted 921-to-582 to endorse anybody but McCain in the U.S. Senate race, according to the report.
Arizona Republicans voted to censure McCain in 2014 citing an excessive liberal voting record. Specifically cited was support for the “Gang of Eight” amnesty plan. At that point in time, six of the state’s fifteen county parties had censured McCain.
McCain allies were reported to be leading a purge of Arizona Republicans following the censure.
McCain was also criticized after calling thousands of Arizonans “crazies” after they showed up for a rally for 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump. McCain called Trump’s rally “hurtful” to him “because what he did was he fired up the crazies.”
Political organization Freedomworks has been working hard to recruit a challenger to McCain despite the presence of prominent McCain challenger Ward. Last year an attempt was made to recruit Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) who ultimately declined. Recently the organization’s PAC put out an email urging readers to draft Schweikert to run against McCain. Despite Ward’s ability to raise funds rivaling Cruz, the email promoted Schweikert as “the next Ted Cruz.”
Gun Owners of America endorsed Ward in December. Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt told Breitbart News that Gun Owners met and are “impressed” with Ward. “She has a great record in the Arizona Senate and she will be quite an upgrade from what we’ve had so far,” Pratt said following the endorsement.
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