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 McCainThe electoral reality that the media ignores Kelly's lead widens to 10 points in Arizona Senate race: poll COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks 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 FlakeRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath 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) ManchinBiden promises Democratic senators help in battleground states Senate leaders quash talk of rank-and-file COVID-19 deal OVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' MORE (D-W.Va.) who said she lacked integrity and honor.