Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has survived primary challenges from the right before, but the woman trying to take him down this year argues that this race is different.
Depicting herself as a “bold, fresh, fearless voice,” former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that anger among the voters has reached a critical mass.
“Arizona deserves to have a Republican senator that represents their values, our values,” she said. “We are not getting it. And guess what? John McCain has never faced a well-educated, well-spoken, down-to-earth, Constitution-loving woman. And I am going to be bringing everything to him. Because people are ready for a change.”
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Ward went after McCain for his participation in a bipartisan effort in 2013 to reform immigration law to grant eventual citizenship to millions of people who crossed the border illegally.
“John McCain wants to double down on his role in the Gang of Eight,” she said. “I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s a mistake for Arizona, for sure. But I think it’s a mistake across the country. People do not want amnesty.”
Immigration has changed Arizona’s demographics markedly over the past several decades. But Ward predicted those changes are not the safety net McCain might expect.
“I don’t think the Hispanic voters are behind Sen. John McCain,” she said. “Because the people who have come here legally, who have followed our laws, they’re against illegal immigration, too. They want a secure border. They don’t want people running guns and drugs across our border right here in Arizona.”
Beyond immigration, Ward said, voters are ready to break with the past.
“They’re disgusted in what’s happening with the Washington Establishment and the elite media,” she said. “And John McCain, unfortunately for him, is the poster boy for the Washington Beltway.”
McCain, Ward said, simply has been in the job too long.
“The people in the Beltway have no idea what is happening in real-life America,” she said. “John McCain has lost touch. Thirty-four years in Washington, D.C., changes a person.”