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 McCainGOP senator says Republicans didn't control Senate when they held majority Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech Mark Kelly's campaign raises over M in days after launching Senate bid 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 FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger 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.

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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 ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate MORE (D-W.Va.) who said she lacked integrity and honor.