Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his allies are reportedly leading a purge of conservatives in Arizona to pave the way for an easier reelection bid should McCain decide to run for reelection in 2016.
McCain’s political team is reportedly “engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.”
According to a Politico report, after Arizona Republicans censured McCain in January, his team sought to target and “unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices”:
Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.Prior to Aug. 26, when the races for the party offices were held, the vast majority of the 3,925 precinct slots were filled by people McCain’s team considered opponents. Now, after an influx of candidates were recruited by the senator’s allies, around 40 percent of those offices — 1,531 to be exact — will be held by people McCain’s team regards as friendly. They will have the power to vote down hostile Republican chairmen in each of their respective localities.
McCain’s team targeted and ousted Timothy Schwartz, “the man who authored the McCain censure resolution,” from his district chairmanship, and conservatives are accusing McCain of waging all-out war against them.
Immediately after McCain was censured, his allies reportedly decided to “form a super PAC that would spend money to elect a more friendly slate of precinct committeemen.” They also reportedly recruited Vietnamese-Americans in Arizona who respect McCain for taking “up the cause of the country’s refugees” and his military service to many precinct posts. According to Politico, “more than 50 individuals of Vietnamese descent signed up to run for the precinct slots, and won.
McCain, who has said he fears he will be the Tea Party’s top 2016 target,
has much to worry about from the right in 2016 from conservatives who may be unwilling to be fooled again by his so-called “straight talk.”
Right after he secured reelection in 2010, mainly because of his former running mate Sarah Palin’s loyalty and promise to build the “danged fence” along the border, McCain swerved left again, denigrating conservatives and Tea Partiers as “hobbits” and “wacko birds” while championing the Gang of Eight’s comprehensive amnesty legislation in the Senate.
McCain, who once said the mainstream media were his base, angered conservatives who have always been skeptical of him with his words and actions.