Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainHouse Freedom Caucus chair weighs Arizona Senate bid Cindy McCain planning 'intimate memoir' of life with John McCain Trump-McConnell rift divides GOP donors MORE (R-Ariz.) played the “Maverick” to Monica Wehby's (R-Ore.) “Goose” on the campaign trail Thursday, as she hopes to jumpstart her Senate campaign amidst plagiarism charges.

The former 2008 GOP presidential candidate traveled with Wehby to a veterans event and another campaign appearance, touting her expertise as a former doctor in a Veterans Affairs hospital. 


"This will be the instant expert," McCain said, according to The Associated Press. "This will be the go-to person in the United States Senate when we're talking about all the things that need to be done for our veterans."

The Arizona lawmaker added that he has “a selfish reason” for looking to kick Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Progressives fume over Senate setbacks Ex-Capitol Police chief did not get FBI report warning of violence on Jan. 6 MORE (D-Ore.) to the curb: he “resent[s]” Merkley’s support of the Senate’s “nuclear option” that dropped the filibuster for many executive nominations.

As for why he supports Wehby, McCain said in an interview with a local TV station that she has the same independent spirit that earned him the “maverick” moniker.

“No one is going to tell her what to do,” McCain said.

Wehby’s campaign faces charges that it stole its healthcare platform’s language from a survey by Republican strategist Karl Rove. Buzzfeed first discovered the similarities in September and the Senate candidate's plan has been removed from her website.

Wehby deflected the criticism repeatedly and her campaign pinned the blame on a former staffer.  

So far, she hasn’t been able to close the gap with her opponent, who released a new ad hitting her on the Rove survey. A RealClearPolitics average of recent polls in the race shows that Merkley is up by more than 13 percentage points.