Arizona Senate candidate Kelli Ward (R) isn’t ready to let bygones be bygones with the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Ward, on the eve of her Senate primary and just two days after McCain’s death, made a number of veiled swipes at the man she ran against in 2016.
Ward at first denied during a Monday press conference that she’d called for McCain to step down right after he announced his cancer diagnosis last year (she’d also suggested she get appointed to the seat). When a reporter confronted her with the exact quote, she doubled down on her earlier remarks, saying that McCain should have stepped aside earlier if his disease meant he couldn’t do his job well.
She then compared McCain’s illness to Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) corruption trial, and argued that politicians like them should step aside more often.
“The power of that incumbency is so sweet for them, the millions of dollars in special interest money that flows into those coffers across the board,” she said. “I think must be irresistible for them, because very few, too few, put the country in front of themselves and their ambitions.”
And when she was asked about the new bipartisan Senate push to rename the Senate Russell Office Building after McCain, she shrugged, saying: “I have to fly out of the McCain terminal sometimes here,” and just wanted to be senator.
The comments are the latest swipes against McCain in recent days.
Over the weekend, Ward suggested that McCain announced he was discontinuing his cancer treatment on Friday as a way to undercut her Senate campaign in the closing days of the primary.
She then tweeted this on Monday, though she later denied it was about McCain:
Political correctness is like a cancer!
— Dr. Kelli Ward (@kelliwardaz) August 27, 2018
Ward, a conspiracy theorist-loving hardline conservative who lost a primary to McCain in 2016, is running against Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) seat. McSally is expected to win their Tuesday primary comfortably.