Home / AZ/DC / Hayworth tells Arizona GOP he’ll take on McCain 

Hayworth tells Arizona GOP he’ll take on McCain 

Former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth has told fellow Arizona Republicans that he will run against the state’s senior senator, John McCain.

Hayworth has spent the past month hinting about a possible candidacy, but he’s now made it clear that he will indeed take on the former Republican nominee for president. He has yet to file the paperwork.

“Soon, I will announce formally my candidacy for the United States Senate,” he said at the annual Arizona Republican Party meeting on Jan. 23.

The day before, he announced he was leaving Clear Channel’s KFYI, where he had hosted a talk show for several years.

When he took the stage, he was greeted with chants of  “J.D.! J.D.!” from a segment of the party’s grassroots volunteers.

McCain addressed the crowd earlier in the day and was greeted with a standing ovation, although a smattering of boos could be heard.

Hayworth is supported by Republicans who disagree with McCain’s moderate views on illegal immigration and other issues. They view Hayworth as the more conservative candidate.

Battle lines between McCain and Hayworth already have formed.

Jane Lynch, a party volunteer from McCain’s Phoenix legislative district, showed up at the meeting wearing a John McCain campaign button and said she was disappointed Hayworth is entering the race.

“I think he’s hurting the state of Arizona by what he’s doing,” she said. Republicans have a tendency to bloody each other up in primary elections, even if that hurts their ultimate chances against Democrats, she said.

Plus, Hayworth is too “right wing” in his views.

“That’s not who wins the general election in Arizona,” Lynch said.

Others welcomed Hayworth’s announcement.

“I think it’s way overdue,” Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. “He’d make a great U.S. senator.”
Hayworth frequently lauded Arpaio on his radio show for the sheriff’s willingness to enforce state and federal illegal immigration laws.

Arpaio has a history of clashing with McCain. In 2008, Arpaio endorsed GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney instead of his senator. In 2000, he backed George W. Bush over McCain. In December, Arpaio hosted a fundraiser to benefit Hayworth’s legal defense fund.

State Sen. Russell Pearce, a Mesa Republican and outspoken critic of McCain’s stance on illegal immigration, called Hayworth a “good-spirited patriot” and applauded his decision to enter the race.

McCain, Pearce said, has “strayed from the basic principles (Republicans) believe in.”

But the campaign will be about more than just illegal immigration, McCain supporters said.

“Amnesty isn’t the only issue,” said Paula Bouthillier, a Peoria Republican.

Many Arizona Republicans who hold elected office said they would avoid endorsing either candidate, for fear that taking sides could lead to problems in their 2010 campaigns.

“I don’t want McCain and Hayworth to get in the weeds in District 30, so I’m not going to get involved in their (race),” said state Rep. Frank Antenori, whose district includes part of Tucson and southeastern Arizona.

State Rep. Rick Murphy, a Glendale Republican, agreed.

“I want to let it play out a little bit. I want to see what kind of campaigns they run before I take a stance,” he said.

Two months ago, a Rasmussen poll showed McCain and Hayworth running about even. But a poll released Jan. 22 by the same firm shows McCain was leading Hayworth in public opinion 53-31. Republican Chris Simcox trailed with four percentage points. The rest of the respondents were undecided.

Rasmussen attributes the huge swing in polling results to news that Sarah Palin will campaign for McCain this year. “Bringing in Palin is significant for a candidate who has always had a troubled relationship with the Republican base,” the firm reported.

McCain has not lost an election since first being elected to Congress in 1982 and later to the Senate in 1986.


  1. This is a pretty good article. I live in AZ and will not vote for John McCain.
    I’m glad JD Hayworth is giving us another (very good) choice. McCain has already been spreading poison with his millions through radio ads about Hayworth and I’m glad Hayworth will stand up and be counted.

    I’m not a one-issue voter, however, Arizona is a border state and McCain has proven to us that he doesn’t care about border security – just the people who cross it illegally.

    McCain – he’s always there when he needs us. I will be one happy Arizonan to see McCain sent packing.

  2. If they keep the primary on ideas rather than personal attacks it can only help the country.

  3. Hayworth was voted the most corrupt politician in DC before he was sent packing before. His qualifications? Sports caster and corrupt politician. How does this give anyone hope? Another dip at the trought, I guess JD needs some bucks and isn’t cutting it at sports anymore. If this is the best the gop can come up with then good luck. At this stage of the crisis you could elect a monkey and get better government, at least free bananas!!

  4. Time to McCain, in his pasture. I believe America, is ready to stand up and demand that our politicians do what the people want.

    God Bless America

  5. Lorraine Driskell

    John McCain should not declare himself a Republican….he goes against the core values and beliefs of the party. Does he feel being a ‘maverick’ will win votes? He’s sadly mistaken. Now. as we see a tide turning against the Democrats in this country he will try and take advange of it be aligning himself with the right..too late.

  6. I cannot wait for the time when rhino McPain gets the boot. He has never been true to the Constitution. He is trying to save his sorry rhino behind!!!!!

  7. It’s time for McCain to go…he is a R.I.N.O. He has served us well but time to step aside and let a new generation of conservative Republicans take the reigns! Too bad Palin threw her hat into the ring for McCain…it’s to be expected, she has integrity. But, I predict Hayworth may just pull out a Scott Brown in Arizona. We will see!

  8. I believe that Joh McCain is sincere and a loyal senator and has served us well; however, I think he made some serious mistakes when he ran for the white house with Sarah Palin. He is not as strong a conservative as he once was. Maybe it is time for change. I am a strong advocate for term limits and maybe this is the time to get some new blood and fresh thinking in the senate.

  9. I’m sorry to hear that Sarah Palin will be stumping for John McCain. She is very loyal, but she is wrong this time. She will not be taking the side of conservatives. I wonder if she realizes that John McCain is a luke warm moderate republican.

  10. Jim Deakin is also running in the Primary against the RINO McCain. Sarah was the only reason I voted for McCain in 08. I can’t vote for Jim Deakin because I’m in PA. but sure as heck can support him to help clean out the Senate.

  11. Main stream media pre-selection again? What about Jim Deakin? He scored higher in several polls and is not even mentioned.

    Let’s get rid of anyone that does not vote according to our Constitution.

    Check out Jim Deakin and find out the truth about both McCain and Hayworth’s voting records.

  12. McCain is a RINO. His politics makes no sense. One can never tell which side of an issue he will land on. Favors amnesty, stimulus, ban free speech from organizations 60 days before an election, except for the left wing media where its OK to disparage a candidate.

  13. R Who's Had Enough

    @ghoster — After months of front page coverage by the AZ Republic, demonizing Hayworth for his connection to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, there was a small two-paragraph notice buried in the back of the local section that — gosh — the Department of Justice would not investigate Hayworth. That, after Hayworth spent $170,000 on defending himself and losing his election to a crooked Democrat. I’m sure you meant to imply that a “vote” at CREW involved more than their office staff. But it didn’t.

    If you’re going to “ghost” for a Republican or Democrat less conservative than Hayworth, perhaps you’d like to get your facts straight before ranting about bananas.

  14. Go J.D! Kick his rino a$$..

  15. Robert Buzzendore

    I am from PA and from what I have read about Senator McCain and his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his ambivalent support of conservative judge candidates, his support of amnesty, and the unconstitutional McCain Feingold campaign finance ‘reform’, I do not think he is a Republican except in the years he is campaigning for re-election.

    This is the same pattern used by our former Republican Senator, Arlen Specter, who voted with the Democrats for the first 4 years of his term and then in year 5 he voted with the Republicans hoping they would have short memories about his liberal voting record. He is now a Democrat because he knew his career as a Republican was over after the massive tea party effort.

    The unfortunate part is that if the federal government limited itself to its proper constitutional role, people from other states, like me, would not need to become involved in other state’s elections.

  16. Finally, thank you J.D. let’s get this party rolling… McCain needs to go. I think the senator knows his time has come and that Arizonians (as well as the rest of America) need people in office who demonstrate courage in decision making and have a better sense of what Americans experience daily.

  17. One more thing… I like Sarah, but she needs to stay out of this fight or be dragged down (once more) by McCain.

  18. I’m excited about JD running for senate. Nobody I know ever voted for McCain, but somehow he always “magically” got elected. It is time for new blood. I’m sure Jon Kyle will be happy with another conservative there to help him.

    I’m disappointed that Sarah Palin is supporting McCain. Hopefully, she will see the error of her ways soon and dump him.

  19. Watch it, J.D. McCain plays dirty. And he has $30 million to do it.

    I guess he thinks the old Senate seat of a real warrior for our side, Barry Goldwater, belongs to him.

    The more you know about Mr. Keating 5, the less you’ll be inclined to vote for him.

  20. Go for it J.D. People outside of Az are looking to support a rino ouster, too

  21. The more you know about Mr. Keating 5, the less you’ll be inclined to vote for him.

  22. fellow Arizona Republicans that he will run against the state’s senior senator, John McCain. I like =)

  23. I guess he thinks the old Senate seat of a real warrior for our side, Barry Goldwater, belongs to him.

    The more you know about Mr. Keating 5, the less you’ll be inclined to vote for him.

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