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Dr. Kelli Ward is a former Arizona state senator who is running in the Republican primary against John McCain. She’s a strong Second Amendment supporter, and a political outsider to Washington, D.C. Her campaign is focusing on a number of issues, one being that it’s time for John McCain to leave office, and she’s contrasting herself with the Senator on the Second Amendment . . .

John McCain has been a reliable “I support the Second Amendment, but” Senator. He has supported bans on “assault weapons”. He supported severe restrictions on gun shows, which would have effectively destroyed the popular gun culture political and networking tool. He supported “universal background checks” designed as a step toward universal gun registration. Coincidentally, he recently backed off of the universal background check issue, as the primary nears. It’s a common tactic for politicians to move toward their base for the primary, then away from it for the general election.

Kelli Ward spent about three hours Saturday at a gun show that was being held in Yuma at the Civic Center where she was warmly received. Second Amendment supporters are one of her strongest constituencies and they haven’t been happy with McCain who’s been in office for nearly 30 years.

I briefly spoke with Dr. Ward at a meet and greet in Yuma last Friday. She was energetic, enthusiastic, and friendly.  These are all great qualities in a candidate. I last saw John McCain close up about two years ago. He was also energetic and mentally sharp. At the time he was mentoring Jeff Flake during his senate race. McCain will be 80 years old in a couple of months.

The Republican base isn’t happy with John McCain, so an outsider like Dr. Ward has a chance. As in the presidential primary, there are multiple opponents who oppose the senior Senator, splitting the anti-McCain vote. A PPP poll shows the situation as of May 17:

McCain is polling at only 39% in the Republican primary field. He’s benefiting from having multiple opponents. Kelli Ward is at 26%, Alex Meluskey at 4%, Scott McBean at 3%, and Clair Van Steenwyk at 2%. 27% are undecided. McCain is very strong among moderates, leading Ward 60-10. But among ‘somewhat conservative’ voters he leads just 34-29, and with ‘very conservative’ ones he’s down 35-28. When you narrow the field down to just a choice between McCain and Ward, it’s a tie at 41%. Ward is polling this competitively at this point despite having only 41% name recognition.

If Dr. Ward consolidates opposition against McCain, she has a serious chance at getting the nomination. Name recognition is the biggest problem for her at this point. And the biggest problem for McCain is…name recognition. His name, record and policy positions are all too well known by conservatives and those who are angered by business as usual in Washington.

Donald Trump has changed electoral politics in the United States. It’s far from clear what will happen in the general election, but Trump’s coattails could be very effective for Dr. Ward, who shares most of his policy positions.  The feud between John McCain and Donald Trump would seem to make any coattail effect for him much less likely.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. I sometimes wish I lived in Arizona. I wouldn’t care who ran against McCain. His retirement day is long overdue.

    • You can donate to the good Dr. as I did. I too do not live in AZ, but he has got to go! He is overdue!

  2. Dr Ward has had my vote since she announced she was running. Judging by the attack ads I’ve seen, someone is worried about his DC gravy train.

  3. McCain’s productive years ended in the late 90’s. Since then he’s turned into a blind supporter of anything in his state, regardless of hard facts or how that fits into what’s best for the nation as a whole (A-10 debate, for example).

    I still call AZ home, and wish Kelli Ward the best in her campaign.

  4. Wouldn’t be surprised if he loses the primary then runs as a Dem or Independent just for spite against his constituents.

  5. Yeah get rid of McCain. Just another RINO. Like the azzwhole Mark Kirk running in Illinois(except WE got no choice). Eck…good luck Dr. Ward.

    • DiFi is not up for reelection this year. Boxer is stepping down. Now we have to worry about Kamala Harris getting into office. In case you didn’t know, she is the reason our gun rights are being stalled in the courts. If you live in California DO NOT vote for her.

  6. Term limits. No one should be able to spend 30 years in Congress.

    Of course we shouldn’t need term limits at all, but that’s another story. And we should also return to the original constitutional republic system of state-appointed senators and popularly elected representatives…but that’s also another kettle of fish.

    • Limits terms this way: you can only be in office for as many years as you’ve worked at any profession but lawyer. Want to sit in the Senate for four terms? First you have to work a real job for twenty-four years.

  7. When I asked via email Stephen Sabastian (Her communications director. If any TTAG staff wants it, just reply with a contact method and I can forward the conversation to you and/or give you his email so you can ask yourself) said she supported introducing legislation to repeal the NFA. She already introduced legislation to repeal several NFA like laws in the Arizona state legislature.

    Would prefer to hear her say that from her own mouth though her past record makes it very believable. I’ve donated to her and hope to see McCain knocked out.

  8. I’m voting for her, but then, I’de vote for a potato if it ran against McCain and didn’t have a “D” after it’s name. Only pro-gun potatoes allowed.

  9. Sigh. Some of you folks are so predictable. Donate and vote for the next politician-wannabe. Rinse and repeat. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Blow the system up.

      • Yeah right. Some POS New York insider wheeler dealer casino baron.

        Or whoever the demtards end up nominating (I still say will NOT be Hellery).

        This is going to end well.

    • So tired of arrogant, self important A-holes on both sides of the isle. Hillary thinks she should not be only elected but to be crowned Queen. Mitt Romney, the nerve to try to rally alternates to run as an independent. Hey Mittens, just because you blew your election chance by being a wuss, it doesn’t give you the right to try to get Hilary the election by default. You and RHINO McCain, are both yesterday news, get over it. You are the reason why Trump won the primary. Get used to it voters can’t trust your type anymore

  10. The Sarah Palin VP choice. Didn’t work for McCain, was a disaster for Trump to even have her speak. I like and have great respect for McCain but politics as usual will not be tolerated anymore.

    • McCain is another in the long line of warmongering career politicians who find themselves fabulously wealthy after a career in “public service”. A true MIC puppet. Fuck him. And the next one.

  11. Congress Woman Ellmers of North Carolina became the first GOP member of congress to lose her seat in the 2016 election when she lost in the primary last night. She is also the first congress person to receive an endorsement by Donald Trump. Trump’s coattails might not be so great.

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