Republican senatorial hopeful Dr. Kelli Ward, an osteopathic physician who intends to run against Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 Republican primary, pleaded with Sen. John McCain to resign from his post during an interview Thursday.
She made the startling remarks less than 24 hours after news broke that McCain had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
“I hope that Senator McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they’re going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward,” she told Indiana radio station WOWO host Pat Miller, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Ward, who previously tried to oust McCain from office during the 2016 Republican primary election, added that President Donald Trump cannot move forward with his agenda if Congress remains “at a standstill while we wait for John McCain to determine what he’s going to do.”
While her words may seem cruel and harsh to some, did she perhaps have a point? It depends.
Were McCain to resign, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would appoint an interim senator, and since Ducey is a Republican, and “Arizona law requires that the replacement be of the same political party as the departing senator,” according to National Review, the replacement would no doubt be a Republican.
Here’s the problem: If that happens, there would need to be a special Senate election in 2018, and it’s perfectly possible that a Democrat might win that election. Were McCain to remain in office, on the other hand, the GOP would be set til 2022, when his term expires.
But there’s another problem as well. Dealing with cancer will no doubt tap the senator’s strength and time, reducing his ability to assist his peers in pushing forth the president’s agenda. However, judging by a tweet the Vietnam War veteran turned senator issued Thursday, perhaps this won’t be a problem after all:
I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support – unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I’ll be back soon, so stand-by!
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 20, 2017
Ultimately, the decision on whether to remain in office lies with McCain and his family, and nobody else. And given both this man’s extensive congressional experience and his prior military service, the American people owe it to him to respect whatever decision he chooses.
That said, Ward may have a legitimate point.
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