Much-anticipated challenger to U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), state Senator Kelli Ward (R-Lake Havasu City) announced early Thursday that she is officially exploring a 2016 run for the U.S. Senate.
Ward supporters have been strongly encouraging state Senator and military wife Ward to run. In a message to supporters, Ward relayed, “I am receiving huge support from the grassroots.”
Ward promised supporters, “I would run to give Arizona a powerful voice in the fight against Obamacare” and would “stand up for the enforcement of our immigration laws and to secure the border.” In a March interview with Breitbart News, Ward reminded the public of McCain’s 2010 campaign promise to “build the danged fence,” a promise that has not been fulfilled.
Her letter continues:
I would run to support the Constitution, smaller government and individual liberty. I would run as a positive, passionate, principled non-career politician. I would run to join a fresh, new generation of leaders in DC and end the stronghold that career politicians have had on our government for decades. I would run to be the voice that so many Arizonans long for from their representation in the US Senate. I would run to be your voice.
She welcomes prayers, comments and advice while laying out her plans to “continue to travel the state to meet and listen to voters.”
Ward closed her announcement, stating:
Informed, motivated voters lead the way to restore government of, for, and by the people. If we want Arizona represented in DC and not DC represented in Arizona, it is up to all of us. Success will take time, motivation, hard work, and money. Financial support is imperative in a David and Goliath battle.
Conservative Republican Club of Kingman President Larry Schiff said of Ward, “I have often heard of her described as a rising star.” Schiff previously suggested Ward would need $10 million to overcome the McCain political machine, a task not insurmountable, given McCain’s diminished campaign war chest. A 2014 year end FEC report listed a campaign committee balance of $2 million.
Just days ago, McCain announced that he will run for re-election to the Senate seat he has held for over three decades. Within hours of the announcement, conservative groups began detailing McCain’s record, giving him a failing grade and rallying grassroots and financial support for a potential McCain challenger.
In recent years, dissatisfaction with McCain has grown, Arizona Republicans formally censuring the Senator for liberal views. McCain allegedly lashed back to the censure, 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.” Politico reported that after his censure, the Senator sought to “unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.”
Leading up to his announcement, McCain appeared concerned about weakness, pushing hard for contributions in an email to potential supporters: “I’m going to be the target of a wide array of powerful groups.” He told them he would face a “unique set of challenges.”
McCain has acknowledged that he expects to face a primary challenge.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.