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)

    Someone forgot 25 years ago to tell McCain that the way you lasso a steer is that you have to be on the side of the fence with the steer.......not sitting on a rail!!!! Especially during an election!

    Please put McCain out to pasture!

    Wafflers associate with wafflers!

    January 23, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in 1!

    Looks like politicians running as "celebrities" are only bad when they are Democrats.

    Or when you have no truth to your arguement, so you resort to name calling.

    January 23, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. lieNoMore

    Hayworth is a lying loudmouth piece of talk show trash who could hardly carry McCain's dirty underwear on his best day. Americans need to step up to the challenges and work hard at making real things again. Feelgood liars like Hayworth and the recently elected Scott Brown put off the solutions and kiss corporate butt.

    January 23, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Airborne

    McCain is a liberal and needs to GO AWAY!

    January 23, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. "Eliminate CNN"

    Why are you posting here with that name? I think you must have an inferiority complex or something. Don't worry, there's a ways to go, we're only 1 year into this Administration and it will take many years to catch up with the destruction caused by the previous Adminstration and that you stoodby while placing our country at great risk.

    Obama 2012

    January 23, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. chip

    PT Barnum Hayworth. Why do we keep electings fools? I blame the people, not the fool (Hayworth). We think there are clear easy answers to everything and the Hayworths rush in to fill the need. Surely, these fools know that the people are looking for someone to fix their issues and fall for it everytime. This is why the PT Barnums get elected. No doubt Hayworth will win and add to the long line of embarassment coming out of arizona. The people deserve him.

    January 23, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. getreal

    More Republicans eating their own. Just like the New York congressional race. Good news for the Democrats!

    January 23, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. valwayne

    Now this kind of insanity will insure that the radical left wing corrupt Democrats will continue taking our country into a ditch!!!

    January 23, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. AZ Mark

    JD is a buffoon – just one more loud-mouthed former sportscaster who thinks he's got the bumper-sticker solution to every problem. I think that McCain is definitely more of a semi-retired elder statesman than a grass-roots activist, but I can't think of anything of note JD accomplished during his time in congress except for breaking his "Contract With America" pledge to only serve three terms and for being known as one of the biggest, dumbest mouths in the House. This will be a race between the populist and corporate wings of the Arizona GOP. It may be close, but McCain will still win the primary and JD can go back to supplementing his congressional retirement bennies.

    January 23, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Publius Novus

    Thank you TEA Baggers! The only thing that will save the Democracy from the customary off-year congressional slaughter is a repeat of NY23. Please, J.D., put up a strong fight!

    January 23, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. stormerF

    Go Hayworth, I am for one a conservative,and McCain has become too much a whiner and wants to adopt too many Liberal Ideas. As long as Hayworth will keep one thing McCain does and that is not ask for any Pork projects,I am for anyone who is a true conservative and against all the wasteful spending.

    January 23, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  12. j williamson

    John McCain's margin of victory over Barack Obama (in his home state of Arizona during the presidential contest of 2008) wasn't all that impressive – a comfortable, but not overwhelming, just a handful of percentage points if I remember correctly. It would appear that the folks back home are not all that impressed with him. This challenge might well be his swan song. Oh well, having seven different houses to divide his time living in is hardly a fate worst than hell.

    January 23, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  13. martin

    Palin won't endorse and/or campaign for McCain. She owes her very existence to him, but when it comes time to repay him, she'll bail.

    January 23, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Fitz in Texas

    Sen. McCain is a nice fellow and a true HERO for his service to our country, but Sen. McCain is a Liberal Republican. I'm hoping Hayworth wins this one and since I can't vote for him I'll be sure to donate to his campaign.

    January 23, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. NC

    If Senator McCain were elected president we wouldn't be in this unsafe, terrorist loving, jobless, pork spending economy that we are in now. McCain/Palin would have kept us safe, created REAL jobs, and wouldn't have spent as much money as our current socialist president has. Vote Republican in 2010 and 2012. CNN post my blog.

    January 23, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. Ann

    Just because Hayworth is going to give McCain a run for his money, doesn't mean that he can ever make McCain stop talking...
    I wish someone could simply make McCain stop talking.

    January 23, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. John McCain

    Support the troops. Bring them home now!

    January 23, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Joseph

    Mr.Brown is not special just a politician looking for a job . If health care was popular you can bet your last dollar that is the direction he would of went in. Give me a break

    January 23, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  19. Gorko

    They're called "Teabaggers" for a reason!

    And for the record, I miss the old McCain, the moderate who would be there to slap both parties silly when they did something stupid. Now we just have this tired old man. Sigh.

    January 23, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    That's right GOP McCain is not stupid enough to represent you he needs to be challenged by some hard right winger. That will help.

    Just when I think the Dems can't get their act together along comes the GOP to remind us of why they no longer deserve to be in the majority. Thanks

    January 23, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. El Kababa

    McCain's presence in Washington has done nothing to make America a better country. However, if someone more Conservative than McCain replaces him, then we are in even worse shape. Those people would rather destroy the nation than spend four more years out of power.

    McCain is unpopular with Conservatives because he thinks non-authorized thoughts, speaks in non-authorized phrases, and departs all too often from THE PARTY LINE. His goose-step is not quite high enough for his colleagues.

    January 23, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  22. Alex

    Send John McCain home with our thanks for the things he did accomplish while in Congress. Bringing in Sarah Palin to run as his VP was probably the biggest mistake of his career! Look at the result. As a conservative all my life, theres NO WAY I could vote to even remotely put her in the White House.

    January 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Debby

    McCain will win because he has always been in the middle with his his politics.

    January 23, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Debbie

    Hmm, last time I checked we had a Democrat President, Senate AND House. Doesn't sound too sad to me.

    January 23, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Boy, the GOP really is scraping the bottom of the barrel with their "rising stars."

    Why would anyone ever elect to political office someone who hates our government?

    People are so ignorant and naive! They should all go live in a third-world country with no rule of law, where just a family or two control everything (and, in some cases, religious police keep people in line).

    Because that's the GOP wants for our country. Only a fool can't see that.

    January 23, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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