Politics

McCain Challenger Looks to Ride ‘Trump Wave’

Kelli Ward says longtime incumbent senator's time is up

Asked about John McCain’s recent complaint that Donald Trump makes his re-election prospects harder, the Arizona senator’s main opponent in the Republican primary says he’s right.

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Kelli Ward, a former state legislator, said Friday on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that McCain has been in Washington too long and has strayed too far from the conservative principles of the people he represents.

“John McCain is the poster boy of what’s happening or not happening in Washington,” she said.

McCain recently told donors that he is in for “the race of my life,” saying much of his vulnerability was due to the likelihood of Donald Trump as the GOP nominee. McCain was referring to an anticipated general election matchup with Democrat Anne Kirkpatrick, but Ward said McCain will have trouble in the primary.

“We are neck-and-neck with Sen. McCain, and I think you are exactly right when you say that Trump at the top of the ticket endangers John McCain and other people just like him,” she said. “People are who big open-borders, globalist candidates are at risk, because the American people are tired of that.”

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Ward said Beltway insiders have underestimated the public’s disgust for Washington.

Ward also said the political world has overestimated “how beloved Sen. McCain is in Arizona,” she said. “People are ready for a change.”

Ward went right after McCain’s ostensible strengths — the military and veterans issues.

“The military has been torn on the watch of the most well-known veteran in this country,” she said. “We have to have [an] America First foreign policy, not this failed foreign policy that we’ve had under Barack Obama. And John McCain’s been there.”

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She also called the Department of Veterans Affairs health clinic “ground zero” for all that has gone wrong with the VA health system.

McCain is no stranger to primary challenges. Six years ago, he easily beat back a challenge by former Congressman J.D. Hayworth. But Ward said times have changed.

“People have seen the light,” she said. “You know, the last time John McCain ran in a primary, he was still riding high on the wave of his presidential [campaign]. He did have the money. He still has the money. He has tentacles into every aspect of political society … But that wave has crashed.

“There’s a new wave out there,” she added. “It’s a Trump wave. It’s a populist wave. It’s a nationalist wave. It’s a wave of, ‘We the People.’ And I’m on that wave, as well.”

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