The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tapped Sen. John McCainJohn McCainPoliticians absent from Thompson Reuters brunch McCain downplays threat of pre-emptive strike against North Korea McCain plan gains momentum amid North Korea threats MORE (R-Ariz.) for its first candidate endorsement this cycle, a spokesman said Monday.
The backing of the powerful business group could help McCain overcome former Rep. J.D. Hayworth's (R-Ariz.) primary challenge.
Chamber Vice President Bill Miller said in a statement, "On issues ranging from lowering taxes to exposing government waste, Arizona businesses and workers will continue to have no better friend in Washington than John McCain."
The endorsement doesn't come with direct financial support for McCain's reelection campaign, said J.P. Fielder, a spokesman for the Chamber. "We engage just strictly on policy issues. We could run an issue ad."
Fielder declined to comment on whether the Chamber would run an issue ad before the August primary vote.
Meanwhile, Democrats used the endorsement as an opportunity to attack the four-term incumbent.
"By accepting the insurance industry financed Chamber of Commerce's endorsement today, John McCain not only sold out his constituents, he sold out what he claimed were his principles," Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement. "The insurance industry backed Chamber has taken the lead in pouring corporate money into politics and gutting the campaign finance law that bares McCain's name after Citizens' United."