McCain’s primary challenger asks him to step aside after diagnosis

McCain’s primary challenger asks him to step aside after diagnosis
© Greg Nash

A former political opponent of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (R-Ariz.) urged him to step down from his office one day after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. 

Kelli Ward — who lost to McCain last year in Arizona's Republican primary and is now running to challenge Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) — said this week that "the medical reality of [McCain's] diagnosis is grim," and he should consider stepping down and having her take his place.

"Senator McCain has an aggressive brain cancer that is both devastating and debilitating. When the time comes that Senator McCain can no longer perform his duties in the Senate at full capacity, he owes it to the people of Arizona to step aside," Ward said in an interview with an Indiana radio station this week.


Ward continued, saying that if McCain does leave office, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would be required to appoint a replacement senator to serve until the 2018 midterm election. When asked if her name was being considered as a replacement, Ward responded: "I certainly hope so."

"Because, you know, I have a proven track record from years in the state Senate of being extremely effective and of listening to the voice of the people that I represent,” she said.

Her comment came after McCain's office announced Wednesday that the 80-year-old senator had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. 

McCain has said he will be back soon and thanked people for the outpouring of well-wishes he has received since the diagnosis.

Ward previously suggested in a Politico interview last year that McCain was likely to die in office and is too old for the job.  

Ward has faced backlash following the comments this week, including Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinDemocrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Democrats advance tax plan through hurdles House Democrat says she won't support reconciliation bill 'at this early stage' MORE (D-W.Va.) who said she lacked integrity and honor.