TUCSON—Among lawmakers threatened with losing their seats this November because of federal expansions enacted under President Barack Obama is the man who was his presidential challenger, Sen. John McCain.
Arizona's August primary was considered a lock for the elder statesman just months ago. But his record of reaching across the aisle on legislation ranging from immigration to climate change has left some Republican voters wondering whether they can depend on him to fight Democrats on key issues. The title McCain once prized as an asset, "maverick," has left the door open for a challenge from former U.S. Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
A few years ago Hayworth dismissed the idea of running against the 23-year incumbent, telling The Weekly Standard that McCain's polling numbers were simply too strong. Then Hayworth lost his House seat in 2006 in a tide of change that swept many Republicans out of office. He turned to talk radio, and now claims conditions are ripe for defeating what he calls McCain's false brand of conservatism.