Sen. John McCain is facing a direct challenge now that Alex Meluskey has suspended his bid. That clears the way for Dr. Kelli Ward to attempt unite the Republican vote against McCain in the Arizona primary on August 30.
Polls show McCain struggling to rise above forty percent in the Republican primary, but so far he’s benefited from the anti-McCain vote being split among several challengers.
A Public Policy Polling survey of the Republican Primary showed former State Senator Ward tied with McCain 41-41 head-to-head but trailing 39-26 when three other candidates were included in the poll. One of those three candidates, Scott McBean, failed to turn in enough signatures to make the ballot. With Meluskey’s campaign suspension, only perennial candidate Clair Van Steenwyk remains. Van Steenwyk polled last in the PPP survey with just 2 percent compared to Meluskey’s 4 percent and McBean’s 3 percent. Van Steenwyk isn’t expected to rise above low single digits.
Dr. Ward issued a statement titled “Meluskey Clears The Way For Ward, 2-Way Race.”
Today Alex Meluskey has honored his pledge to Arizona Republicans ‘to clear the way for the defeat of John McCain.’ I thank him for his selfless and courageous decision, and I pledge to be a conservative champion on those issues that matter so much to his supporters whom we welcome to our camp: protecting innocent unborn life, defending the Second Amendment, securing our borders, and finally fixing the VA.
After 33 years in Washington, John McCain has become the ultimate establishment insider and Hillary’s favorite Republican. It’s 2016, and the VA is still broken, and the borders are still open. That’s why he’s losing a reliably red state to a rubber stamp Obama Democrat. I’m the only Republican who can unite our party to win in November.
John McCain’s millions of dollars of false attacks against my military family discredit his past service and call into question his capacity to serve through a fourth decade in DC well into his eighties. John McCain should do the honorable thing and renounce the desperate smear tactics from AZ Grassroots Action PAC and debate me one-on-one, face-to-face before the voters. As Senator McCain himself has said, ‘If all you run is negative attack ads, you don’t have much of a vision for the future.’ Arizona Republicans should help me honor him with retirement on August 30.
Just days before early voting begins on August 3, Meluskey made the announcement in a YouTube video.
“I made it very clear from the outset that if I was not in a position to win this race, I would do what is best for our state, and for our country, and step aside before voting began,” Meluskey stated. “That is why effective today, I am suspending my campaign and therefore I am not presently a candidate for the U.S. Senate.”
Meluskey’s name will still appear on the ballot.
Without mentioning Ward by name Meluskey hinted that an endorsement may be forthcoming. “I am keeping my promise to the people of Arizona in order to clear the way for the defeat of John McCain,” Meluskey says in the video. “Roberta and I are deeply grateful to every single one of our fantastic supporters, volunteers, and donors, and to our great staff. Your work has been exemplary, and builds towards a brighter American future.”