EXCLUSIVE — Kelli Ward Vows to Retire John McCain in Historic Arizona Primary

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. listens to testimony by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan Commander and Resolute Support Commander Gen. John Campbell, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, during the committee's hearing about the situation in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Conservative Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward is hopeful on the eve of her primary against Senator John McCain.

Surrounded at home by family members making last-minute phone calls, Ward understands the historical significance that a win Tuesday will have on the Republican Party and the future of the nationalist movement that has grabbed hold of the popular consciousness and refuses to let to.

“We the people have a voice and we need to use it,” Ward told Breitbart News in a contemplative interview. “And the career politicians and elitists need to hear that roar.”

Physician Ward trails by four points, 37 percent to 33, in a Breitbart/Gravis poll with 23 percent of Republican primary voters still undecided. The Twitter hashtag #RetireMcCain is going into overdrive. On the occasion of John McCain’s 80th birthday, Ward is taking the gloves off one last time.

“It has to be done,” she says matter-of-factly. “The people in Washington have gotten so comfortable with their power and their power over the people. I think they actually think now that they work for the special interests. This wake up call is necessary.”

“He wants everyone to think we need him in power, but he bends the Constitution…John McCain does not support the Constitution, from everything I can tell by the way he legislates.”

“He has name recognition. That’s the main reason he is re-elected. Good or bad, some people are not politically aware but they know the name John McCain. He’s been around for decades.”

For Ward, McCain’s record of interventionist foreign policy must be reversed.

“He and Hillary Clinton have very similar foreign policy. Invade the world and invite the world,” she says, noting 13 different countries that McCain has suggested invading. Though she thinks the invasion of Iraq was constitutional, she has seen the dangers that it caused.

“We created a vacuum that was filled by rival Islamic elements and instead of learning from that we went into Libya, we went into Syria. It is a vacuum with so much danger, especially for Christians. The minority Muslim population is also under attack. We’ve made a huge mess of that part of the world.”

“He said last week that the world is on fire and I say that he and Hillary Clinton lit the match.”

Ward thinks her victory would help start the process of purging the Republican Party of obstructionists and helping Donald Trump to form a governing coalition to get things done if he is elected president.

“I’m 100 percent behind Donald Trump, and not just because he’s the Republican nominee,” Ward said. “He is the one who won an unbelievable race in that primary. He has ideas that are good for our country.”

“I am not going to settle for another imperial president. He needs legislative partners to get the job done. I am very good at policy,” Ward said, noting that 19 of her bills in the Arizona State Senate were signed into law in one year. “That’s about putting excellent policy forward. I want to bring that effectiveness to Washington.”

Ward has been through the political ringer, taking attacks Left and Right throughout her primary.

“The National Chamber of Commerce. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce. Many of them want to do us harm.”

“His strategy this time was to stay hidden as much as possible. It’s the same strategy as Hillary Clinton. We tried to have a debate, talking about our vision for the future, so that people can see how we can think on our feet, our problem-solving ability. But we weren’t given that opportunity.”

“He doesn’t want the contrast of an 80-year-old man standing up next to — and I’m no spring chicken, I’m 47-years-old,” but a knowledgeable and high-energy woman and a doctor. “He simply didn’t want that contrast.”

For Ward, the attacks on her have come from “far and wide.” She said:

They started the day I announced. That was July 2015. Before my feet hit the ground that day there were ads that came out from John McCain and [a PAC]. Their hope was that they could knock my knees out from under me, but they failed. They started running attack ads in April for an August primary! I was the only one in Arizona getting attacked for months. Their attacks have been proven false by our local Channel 12 station.

McCain’s attacks on Ward center on her opposition to Big Government surveillance measures, which Ward says McCain is using to paint her as anti-military and anti-law enforcement.

“I support the Fourth Amendment,” she says. “I always will. If people do not support a right to privacy then I am probably not their candidate.”

“Law enforcement is under attack and they need to be able to do their jobs, which means get a warrant. This mass surveillance cannot continue.”

McCain’s push to add a “Draft Women” provision in the National Defense Autorization Act upset Ward’s supporters.

“John McCain puts poison pills in every bill he touches…this year he put in…” Draft our Daughters is wanted by the left, so they are the ones who call John McCain on the phone to push for it, according to Ward.

Ward said that McCain won’t answer the calls of populists hoping for better trade deals, but “As soon as the radicals on the Left ask for something, then he puts it in right away.”

Will Ward win? She’s cautiously optimistic.

“What we see on the ground is, it should be a blowout and John McCain doesn’t have a chance. People are tired of John McCain. And the other side says, well, he has this political machine, he has all this power, he could be getting votes from somewhere.”

“Vote-harvesting is illegal in Arizona now but we’ve heard that they’ve been doing it,” Ward said, referring to the age-old process by which campaign volunteers go around and ask people to hand them their actual mail-in ballots.

“I think it will be a nail biter tomorrow,” Ward said.

For millions of Americans tuned in to the GOP civil war changing that political party from the inside, it will be a nail-biter worth watching.


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