April 21st, 2009
02:43 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain gets conservative primary challenger

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/21/art.simcox.gi.jpg caption="Simcox will challenge John McCain in a Senate primary."](CNN) - Arizona Sen. John McCain - whose support of illegal immigration reform nearly derailed his presidential bid two years ago - will face a Senate primary challenge next year from Minuteman founder Chris Simcox.

Simcox, who has resigned from the volunteer organization with the mission of preventing illegal crossings of the U.S. border, will formally announce his Senate bid on Wednesday.

"John McCain has failed miserably in his duty to secure this nation's borders and protect the people of Arizona from the escalating violence and lawlessness," Simcox said in a statement. "He has fought real efforts over the years at every turn, opting to hold our nation's border security hostage to his amnesty schemes."

"Coupled with his votes for reckless bailout spending and big government solutions to our nation's problems, John McCain is out of touch with everyday Arizonans. Enough is enough," he added.

McCain's presidential hopes were nearly dashed after teaming up with Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, a measure that provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States.

McCain later backtracked from calling for a path to citizenship and, at a CNN debate in January 2008, said he would not have voted for the legislation if it reached the Senate floor.

"No, I would not, because we know what the situation is today," he said of voting for the bill he sponsored. "The people want the borders secured first."

A week before Monday's Homeland Security field hearing on border security in Phoenix, Arizona, McCain criticized the Obama administration's plan for immigration reform.

He said he could not support the plan, which he said "does not adequately address either securing the border or a legal temporary worker program."

"We need to act on the pressing issue of border security now, and then seek comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a temporary worker program," McCain said in a statement April 14. "Any legislation that does not address these two key components is not real reform."

McCain did not face a primary challenger in 2004 and won reelection with over 75 percent of the vote.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Delilah (Hampton, VA)

    Hopefully, John McCain will stop demanding apologies and Truly do something for the American people, especially for his state of Arizona!

    April 21, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    You're in trouble now Johnny boy. And that goes for all you other lifelong senators and congressman. A new day is here and on 11/4/2010, the American people are going to snd alot you guys home packing.

    April 21, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Henry

    Oh boy. Chris Simcox? The former publisher of a local Tombstone newspaper rag? Not quite bright intellectually. If you want to meet an extremist, you will love Chris.

    I am truly not a fan of John McCain. But Simcox is waaaaayyyyyyyy out there.

    Even as a Democrat I would vote for McCain instead of this clown.

    April 21, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. Becky

    With Simcox's background, Simcox may very well win. Plus he seems passionate about the cause, which appears to directly apply to the state of Arizona.

    April 21, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. jaye

    Anyone would be a better senator than John McShame.....anyone.

    April 21, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Hotti4BHO

    Yes, get old Jonny buoy out of the senate...You are young and fresh..........

    April 21, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. Pete

    So, what exactly would "closing the border" entail? How many troops would this require? What would be the sheer cost of having a permanently militarized border? What would happen if some trigger happy soldier started gunning people down or actually advanced into Mexican territory.

    People like Mr. Simcox like to give his illiterate, uneducated followers simple answers and angry slogans about immigration, but neither him nor his moronic followers have actually thought this through.

    April 21, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. Carl C

    The United States of America needs to block off its borders now to prevent people from becoming a burden to the American taxpayer in terms of lowering crime from theft and drug related violence. Let's be clear: There are legal means to entering the USA and becoming a US Citizen. I understand that these people want a better life for themselves but simply abandoning their country of origin for the US's border is not the answer. Stand up, fight back and take control of your own country.

    April 21, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. D. Sangiovanni

    Mr. McCain "right-wing extremism" is coming to get your seat!!

    April 21, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. carlo

    Okay, this explains McCan't rant. He's being challenged by an even bigger blowhard than he is.

    April 21, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. jason L

    Good luck with your bid Simcox! We need this old man out of office. McCain is a joke. Hopefully this was his last bid for the white house! McCain gets more desperate each time he runs for the presidency.
    He loves to preach about his time in the military but when it comes time to help the vets he say we'll already have to much and votes against us!


    April 21, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Tom Falk

    McCane and Sarah Palin are well suited for each other.

    April 21, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    I'm a Democrat; Good Luck Chris! It's time for the old guard to go.

    April 21, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Gary D.

    Chris Simox needs to take better care in how he expressed himself about others, especially Senator McCain. John McCain has actually accomplished so much for his state and that of our nation, and doesn't need this type of backlashing from anyone, especially someone from his home state. When you point the finger at Senator McCain, 4 fingers point back at you Mr. Simox. You don't have my vote..

    Senator McCain gave up many years of his life as a prisoner in
    SE Asia...What have you done in service to our country, Simox?

    Have you served your country in uniform?

    We need a fence with strong current all along the border...Mexicans' touch it and they are fried...That may stop the drugs and illegal aliens from entering our country by the thousands....

    April 21, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  15. katiec

    I would welcome anyone who could get Mccain out of office, but we
    do not need the continuation of the republican old, unworkable ways.
    We need someone who will put our country and our survival over
    politics and do not know if his opponent will do that.

    April 21, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. GOP = 21st century dodo

    This oughta be fun

    April 21, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Linda32

    It might just be retirement time for McCain, but be careful Arizonians, he doesn't take failure well.

    April 21, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. JonDie

    Though I would never vote for a far right-wing radical extremist like Simcox, I agree, "John McCain has failed miserably...", John McCain has suckled at the teat of the taxpayer for far too long, and his mental capacities are no longer up to being a US senator (unless we use Sen. Jim Bunning as the standard for being adequate).

    April 21, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  19. disgusted

    I used to think Arizona would be a nice place to live.

    April 21, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  20. RUTY

    Simcox I hope you win by a landslide.

    April 21, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. we need competence

    but McCain is so funny, he seems to be taking on a Palin role

    Chris Simcox may actually be a formible politician

    April 21, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  22. ray

    arizona, i hope when you do have to select a senator you do not select this racists simcox, this immigrant hater simcox. this racists is using the immigration issue to get elected. this man is nothing more than a immigrant hater and a racists. had all the immigrants been white america won't be having this pfoblem. racists like simcox, loudobbs, tancredo and the right wing, immigrant haters group blames, both legal and illegal immigrants for the problem of this country. simcox i hope you or your immigrant hating people read this. you are an immigrant racists simcox.

    April 21, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Jack in Florida

    Oh great....................an up and coming neocon.............. Find the middle ground Repubs..........that is where you will win.

    April 21, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Nothing more entertaining than watching Republicans cannibalize each other in public.

    Bon apetite!

    April 21, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. therealmarie

    I don't care if Satan runs in oppositin to McShame, I'll vote for Satan just to get this scum out of the national spotlight and off my TV.

    April 21, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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