While Tea Party Republicans are mulling a primary challenger for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Democrats have announced their candidate to take on the incumbent as he vies for his sixth term.
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) announced in a video today in which she tells of growing up in Arizona and shows the boots “I bought with my waitressing tips… yup, I still wear ’em.”
“I respect John McCain’s service to our nation; I just believe our state’s changing,” she said. “Arizonans should have a real choice who they send to the United States Senate.”
Kirkpatrick, a former city attorney for Sedona, was first elected to the House in 2008 but lost her seat to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) in 2010. After redistricting, Gosar ran for 2012 re-election in a newly created district and won, while Kirkpatrick ran for her old seat and was victorious.
A survey released earlier this month by Dem-leaning Public Policy Polling found McCain with just 41 percent job approval among Republican voters. However, McCain led prospective Dem challengers, including Kirkpatrick.
McCain also has a slim edge over potential GOP challengers Reps. Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.). Only Salmon fares well in hypothetical polling against the Dems.
Dean Debnam, president of PPP, called the Arizona Senate race reminiscent of Indiana in 2012.
“John McCain should be fine if he makes it to the general, but like Richard Lugar, unhappiness with him among conservatives could cause him to lose a primary. And if that happens the general election could get interesting,” he said.
Democrat Joe Donnelly won Lugar’s seat after campaign stumbles by Tea Party nominee Richard Mourdock.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s targets in 2016 include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), being challenged by former Sen. Russ Feingold, and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), being challenged by Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).