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. jason

    i really hope McCain loses the primary. If he loses then the Dems have a great chance of winning the Arizona senate seat. if McCain is the republican nominee then he will most likely win because he is the long time incumbent

    January 23, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. Rolf In Sun City West

    I don't think anyone cares? There is too much going on in the civilized world, to care what goes on in Azirona. I only live here to be with my buddy's from the 3rd Reich, like sheriff Joe. Why can't humans leave us alone and let us bake our brains till they are the consistency of shoe souls, and we have all your money from medicare!

    January 23, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. C Spurgeon

    Well I hope someone takes him out but not sure about a talk show host...Lots of impartiality there right!

    January 23, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. ross berg- Buffalo NY

    My gut is that he'll win. After McCains disasterous pick of Palin as his running mate and the other total screw ups during his campaign it's very apparent that it's time for him to enjoy a well earned retirement!!

    He and Sarah can make a nice living doing a dou road show playing to Tea Party audiences!!!

    January 23, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. sick and tired

    McCain has got to go, but Hayworth is not a good fellow and we don't need him....................so let's keep looking for a replacement

    January 23, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. NotFooledTX

    Wow, what a choice...you get to pick between the lesser of two losers. Good luck AZ.

    January 23, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Michael from Ventura

    This is what we want to see--the gop at war with themselves! They will deserve the outcome!

    January 23, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. B

    That should not be much of a challenge.....

    Taking candy from a baby!

    January 23, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. Larry

    Great. Another talk show host turned politician. I'm sure this guy has the depth of a puddle too!

    January 23, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Lilarose in Oregon

    I agree presidential-loser McCain has been in Washington DC long enough.

    He acts like he is the president!

    The minute centerfold pin-up boy Scott Brown was elected by Independents in Massachusetts (non-voters there are probably already mad at themselves), McCain was on the air tellilng the country that ALL Americans are angry and want change.

    Not so, Johnnie-poo! I am a very liberal Independent. There are thousands of liberal Independents.

    January 23, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Rose

    I live in Arizona and I do support McCain. He is not perfect just like all the Senators but he is still much better than Hayworth. McCain will be re-elected, no doubt in my mind.

    January 23, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Carol

    Good. Get him out. Get them all out. Every single incumbent regardless of party. It's time to vote all incumbents out. It's time to end the game playing of "how do I keep my job", and instead "how do I work for the American people."

    January 23, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. mario ca.

    Too old with old time fashion mind

    January 23, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. harold

    The call to Public service huh?.. You and your lobbiest friends huh?. I like it.. fighting amongst the Republicans .. go at it Republcans.. And by the way Just what is ts the public service you Republicans perform.. for the USA huh?..We know you Republcans want to repeal Medicare.. cause its Socialism... Right?

    January 23, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. 50th President

    I oppose term limits. If the people of a state/district cannot decide when it is time for their representative to go, then they deserve to keep that individual. Common sense. That's what made America great and that's what will keep it great. My best wishes to Senator McCain. Most of these comments come from people who also believe the constitution should also be "put out to pasture." God Bless America. 🙂

    January 23, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Tammy

    What has our country come to? All because there is a black president? What if Hillary had won? a woman? But if McCain had won, crazy no-grey-matter Barbie would have been pres. soon enough. That would be ok because even though a woman, she is a right wing nut? God help America!

    January 23, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Ross

    Anyone who thinks that the majority of politicians whether they are Democrats or Republicans have been serving the best interests of this country are sadly mistaken. On both sides of the aisle we have professional politicians who are beholden to the $ of special interests and they get elected by playing on the emotions and the ignorance of the voting public. Wake up America. Whether it is Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann, the so called Tea Baggers or Moveon.org, they are all part of the problem. What is needed is common sense and a concerted effort to solve this country's massive problems by rational people who can and will have the respect to talk to each other in a civil manner.

    January 23, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Chris from ARIZONA

    Anyone who thinks JD Hayworth is a breath of fresh air clearly does not live in Arizona and does not understand Arizona politics and clearly just doesn't like McCain.

    Gary freaking Coleman would be a better choice than JD Hayworth...you think stuff is bad now...vote that idiot in office.

    Given the choice I'll stick with 6 more years of the old codger McCain anyday. Do some research before before you go spouting your usual blind koolaid drinking rhetoric.

    January 23, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. billy123

    Great remember when Senator McCain stated he did not know what is going on here in the U.S. Senate. It is time for Senator McCain to retire.

    January 23, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Ted from Calif.

    Good! It's time for the "Songbird" to retire.

    January 23, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. go ahead hayworth.....

    go ahead make McCain's day to make hay ...Easy win for John....

    ..............................McCain is for country first................................................

    January 23, 2010 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. JP

    JD the reason McCain isn't president is because he picked Palin. The far right is destroying the republician party.

    January 23, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Jon S.

    A sign of the intellectual ignorance and political insanity of the GOP, when McCain has to fight a challenge from the far right.

    January 23, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Albo58

    McCain is a prime example of why we need term limits! The Congress needs new blood desperately!

    January 23, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  25. NVa Native

    Hayworth represents a change to go back to the way it was under the Bus/Cheney regime.
    All the nasty opinions from the punk squad "tea-baggers" with lies and deceptions about our President on this and every post is truely eye opening. Why is it that now when we have an extremely educated experianced black man as our Democratic President it has some how become "partiotic" to spread lies and deceptions about him? Tea-baggers are the same mobs from an evil chapter of US history, they just don't wear sheets and burn crosses any more.

    January 23, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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