January 23rd, 2010
12:54 PM ET
12 years ago

Hayworth says he will challenge McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/23/art.hayworth.gi.jpg caption="Hayworth says he will challenge McCain."](CNN) - Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth of Arizona says he's planning to challenge fellow Republican John McCain for his senate seat.

The former six-term congressman stepped down Friday as host of his conservative talk radio program on a radio station in Phoenix.

"We will formally announce at a later time, but we're moving forward to challenge John McCain," Hayworth told the Associated Press. "I think we all respect John. I think his place in history is secure. But after close to a quarter-century in Washington, it's time for him to come home."

Shiree Verdone, McCain's campaign manager, said in a statement, "Senator McCain has always taken every challenge seriously, and is confident with the help and support from the people of Arizona that he will be re-elected to the United States Senate."

Hayworth would not have been able to continue hosting a radio program and also legally run for federal office. Hayworth was ousted from Congress in the 2006 election and has hosted the radio show for the past few years.

"It has been a joy to spend weekday afternoons on KFYI. Now, another chapter begins. The call to public service remains, and again it may very well lead to pursuit of public office," Hayworth said in a statement posted on the radio station's website.

Hayworth told AP that a recent "outpouring of support" from people in Arizona asking him to run changed his mind about challenging McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and four-term senator who's up for re-election this year.

McCain's already facing a primary challenge from Chris Simcox, a co-founder of the Minuteman movement.  Simcox announced his candidacy last April and then resigned from the volunteer organization, which tries to prevent illegal crossings of the U.S. border. McCain's past support of immigration reform legislation in Congress nearly derailed his presidential bid two years ago.

Wednesday McCain's running mate in 2008, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, announced she would travel to Arizona to campaign with McCain in March. Palin is very popular with many voters on the right, and her teaming up with McCain could help him with some Republican voters who question his commitment to conservative values and goals.

- CNN's Paul Steinhauser and David DeSola contributed to this report.

Filed under: J.D. Hayworth • John McCain
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Everyone that is in favor of McCain should look up his voting record in 110th Congress at Washington Post website. More important than
    his history of 84% Not Voting in 2008 and history of 64% Not Voting
    in entire 110th Congress is all the important votes calls on important issues he missed.
    Again this history is a history of not showing up for Vote calls even on important vote calls.

    January 23, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. marcus2

    Looks like McCain is being challenged by King Teabagger. Well, McCain brought it on himself by choosing and defending The Queen of Teabaggers, Sarah Palin.

    January 23, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. Eliminate CNN

    McCain will win again and you sad sack democrats can get out your crying towels. The Democratic Party is in shambles and is accelarating its downhill slide. Sad but fun to watch at the same time.

    NOBAMA IN 2012 (my bad)

    January 23, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Denis

    McCain's position on border security vs. giving benefits to illegal immigrants (under "immigration reform" ) is unclear. Our border remains very insecure. The more benefits people can acquire by moving here illegally, the greater will be the illegal immigration. At election time, John McCain will say he understands this and will promise "no reform until the border is under control". But, if newly elected and back in Washington, will he revert to doing the bidding of the main stream media and his Democratic colleagues?

    January 23, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. AJ

    Call to public service my ass, the guy is looking for a spot on FOX. There isnt a republican alive that could care less about public service. It's all about a big payday and unrestrained power.

    January 23, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Donald, Cameron, NC

    Do you hear the drums Fernando?

    McCain didn't fair well in his own adopted home state in 2008 which should have sent a wake-up message, but unlike other politicians they don't understand ANYTHING outside the Washington belt-way or feel the American peoples' pain and frustration at their constant shenanigans in Washington.

    This idiot is the the way to go, but at least its a start. Wake-up American and get a viable third party in this country - not one full of fringe nut cases.

    January 23, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. carolflowery

    from now on, when i hear someone call other americans 'teabaggers' i will declare them racist

    January 23, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Ripedia

    I'm no fan of McCain, but he is a saint compared to lunatics like Hayworth. If Arizona elects that crazed teabagger, then it has more issues than I thought.

    January 23, 2010 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. rob

    I am all for McCain being challenged but not by some right wing lunatic!

    January 23, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. astro

    I say vote all of the incumbents out of office who's only purpose is to oppose the other party. I am independent and I find it crazy that the two parties never find time to work together all of the while the american people suffer with their ineptitude. When its time to get re-elected, they reach into their pockets to pay for the campaigning just so they can be on their little power trip a few more years and do nothing. I am really suprised at McCains voting record as a Republican...did he go to work?.........but you'll hear his ads now! On the other hand, JD seems like he will also campaign on stopping certain people rather than working together for the common good.... so were left with ?

    January 23, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    But Sarah is coming in to save little John. So now what, tea baggers?

    January 23, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. lifelong democrat

    McCain was bought by George Soros, I'm glad the US Supreme Court reaffirms the FIRST AMMENDMENT it covers everyone including businesses. McCain should retire, he's endangering this country by standing there with his brain located at the sole of his feet.

    January 23, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. WoW


    Your accusations about the Republican party are completely uneducated and they make you sound like someone who is out of touch with reality.

    Do yourself a favor and take the hate out of your system. Perhaps take a political science course and learn about politics because your post as I mentioned is ridiculous.

    Also, do yourself a favor and never political blog again.


    January 23, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. the unsub

    Most folks (primarily minorities) are not loyal to democtrats, republicans, or independents. They only support the party that supports them..... period.

    Folks can support Obama without supporting the Pelosis, Bayners, Reids, and Liebermans, of the world. But, one will not be supported by the masses if he or she is trying to "break" Obama or see that he "fails." This simply sends the wrong message that one wants the country to fail, and that is simply counterproductive and quite frankly unpatriotic.

    January 23, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Pete

    I hope McCain beats his azz. (I don't think there are too many serious Democratic challengers in Arizona). LOL.

    January 23, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  16. Jonathan Burton

    John McCain is one of the few Republicans who leads with his heart and his mind. A man who is not afraid to go up against his party for what is right and just. It will be a sad day if he loses to the tea party mob rule. Another good leader gone and replaced by a corporate shill.
    This is the beginning of the end of democracy.

    January 23, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  17. JDOperatic

    "I have a political campaign and I need cash NOW!
    Call J.D. Hayworth, give me the cash NOW! Give me the cash NOW! Give me the cash NOW!"

    January 23, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Scott, Tucson

    I guess all the people whom voted for Senator Brown in Massachusetts are teabaggers too. Too bad we have to wait till November to kick out the other rotten democrats.

    January 23, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. johnrj08

    Just what this country needs– a lunatic, reactionary talkshow host in the Senate. I have no use for McCain, but this guy belongs in a cage.

    January 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. boo hoo liberals

    We need to have term limits on all senators. People like McCain, although great Americans, simply are just in office TOO LONG. This results in the same stale policies we see year after year. We need fresh bodies and ideas in office, and it starts with TERM LIMITS.

    January 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. MatthewDetroit

    Very Good Choice.
    We need someone more conservative.

    McCain is and independent and that is why he was unable to win in the first place. He is too too weak.
    He should declare as an independent.

    The difference is that the liberal left has moved so far left that the guy seems conservative. In fact he would be a democrat in any other decade.

    January 23, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. Keith Gold Canyon

    Hope JD and Simcox take it to McCain and get him out. Pehaps we'll get lucky and Kyl will get sent packing also.

    McCain is a carpetbagger, Arizona isn't his home and you can tell that from his voting record.

    January 23, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Sue

    Hayworth will definitely be a strong challenger against McCain.

    Arizona voters will definitely vote for McCain over a Democrat---but they would rather have someone who is a strong anti-amnesty, anti-rewards/accommodations for illegals.

    Arizona voters do not want Arizona to turn into the next California-–the entire economy/state destroyed due to illegals and loony liberal policies.

    Also, I think that it was very bad timing for Mrs. McCain and his daughter to voice publicly their support for gay marriage--as based on polls, the majority in Arizona do NOT want it.

    The ONLY thing that might save McCain from a defeat--is Sarah Palin campaigning for him.

    However, if McCain wins---he will win the senate seat--as Arizona will NOT vote for a Democrat.

    January 23, 2010 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Well, it is republicans who keep proposing term limits... Although it is almost entirely only used when challenging democrats while they sit and grow roots in their own seats. Hayworth is commendable for being the one republican who's consistent.

    January 23, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Just when you think the republicans could not get any nuttier, along comes Hayworth.

    January 23, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6