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. John

    It is ultra conservatives who are so obsessed with fencing out Migrant workers from South of the border that are destroying the Republican Party. The Republican Party cannot hope to win the American masses with their extremist view on this issue. The vast majority of Americans are not extremists. They are largely rational people. They will vote for candidates with good ideas and leadership skills not extremists.

    April 21, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. JT

    I bet you any knid of money that he will hire Obama's campaign staff

    April 21, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Soccer Nana

    And the beat goes, the beat goes on. (Sonny and Cher)

    April 21, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  4. michael

    Go figure. McCain taking issue with something that he created. That's the republican way.

    April 21, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. shucks

    And this looney is even more out of touch with the rest of the nation. Keep it in Arizona folks. You are right up there with Florida in your hatred of immigrants.

    April 21, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Cerena

    McRelic's chickens may soon come home to roost!

    April 21, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Donna

    I cant wait to see this! This race should wake up John McCain from his decades-long nap....CHANGE, wasnt that his key word? Here it comes, baby....

    April 21, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. Thebe

    Oh, boy. By the sights and sounds of this dude, McCain is toast.

    April 21, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. Sharon Northern Virginia

    Well I am happy to hear Mr McCain will have a challenger this time around. John, you will be put into retirement once you lose your Senate sit. BYE BYE Johnny Boy.

    April 21, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. pam Eugene OR

    McCain is saying he would not vote for a bill he coauthored! That is crap. I think he will have a tough fight on his hands for reelection. His ideas are as old and outdated as he is.
    Time to retire John. American can not afford 20 million illegals any more.

    April 21, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. J. Peter

    Chris Simcox can't even spell check his own website, how does he think he can represent AZ? Country First.

    April 21, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Cliff

    This will be great. An actual REPUBLICAN from Arizona!
    I might move there just to vote for him!!!!

    April 21, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Zealan Whatley

    Chris, you may be okay, but save your time and money. John McCan is a political icon. Wait until he decides to leave the Senate. He is already a strong influence there and you aren't.

    April 21, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Steve

    Okay, I'm not a big fan of McCain (at least, not anymore – I used to like him, but some of his behavior and choices during the election made me ashamed of him), so I would ordinarily be all-too-happy to see him lose his seat... but this guy running against him is a extremist nutcase. No thanks.

    April 21, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Shannon

    I think mccain is on his way out, he will more than likely lose the next Senate race.

    April 21, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. MsRotten

    McShame/McInsane is SO gonna LOSE!! Hahahahaha!

    Same with Psycho SaRahRahRah..........they're BOTH....OUTTA HERE!!

    Someone please put the white jackets on them and haul them off to the loony bin. I cannot wait for the day that John McInsane and Psycho Sarah Stalin GO AWAY.

    April 21, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Taniel

    This should not be taken lightly. Campaign Diaries details the two reasons this challenge could be tough for McCain to beat back: We have seen a lot of evidence that his relationship to Arizona conservatives is very bad, and candidates like Simcox have fared well in the past.

    April 21, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Bob

    Mr. Simcox isn't a "conservative".....But he is a right wing whack job who WILL give McCain all he can handle.....The GOP is definitely falling apart....

    April 21, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. P. Y.

    I know nothing of this man, but good God, he has to be better for the people of Arizona than John McCain.

    April 21, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Liz T, Tucson

    Chris Simcox running against McCain. That should be fun to watch. McCain's supporters will have nicer folding chairs.

    April 21, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. parker

    How about time limit to the senators!

    April 21, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Franky

    That's one heck of a strategy, run on Immigration against him and see how it is goes...kind of reminds me of the Cowboys, LOL!! But I'll be fair, they think they did "something good", now that's a joke...(you failed me Romo, you failed me...)anyway, go for it, play like the Knicks, it works sometimes...

    April 21, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. YES!

    I am a democrat, but it's really time for John McCain to be quiet. Hope this guy wins.

    Perhaps if McCain is also out of the senate, he can find more constructive things to do with his time than attack President Obama like the bitter loser that he is!

    Doesn't he have millions of dollars he should start enjoying? Ohhhh, but President Obama was accused of being the elitist. RIGHT!

    To all you ignorant Republicans: a university degree = education. It does not equal elitism. Your only hope is to capture votes from religious nut jobs who place faith above fact.

    April 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Karen - Missouri

    No Republican is particularly good...but maybe this guy has newer, better, more creative ideas. McCain really lives in the 1960s era. I'm apalled that he couldn't bother to show up for the Kennedy Service Act signing today. How rude to Sen. Edward Kennedy! What's McCain's excuse for a no show? He doesn't want to jeopardize being seen with Obama? That it might look to the other Republicans like he (McCain) is actually doing some bipartisan work?

    All that being said, this Simcox actually sounds like any other typical Republican...let them fight among themselves.

    April 21, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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