- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Democrat, announced Tuesday she plans to challenge GOP Sen. John McCain for his seat in 2016, providing Democrats with a big-name recruit in what will be an uphill contest in the red state.

“I respect John McCain’s service to our nation — I just believe our state’s changing,” Ms. Kirkpatrick in her announcement video. “Arizonans should have a real choice who they send to the United States Senate.”

First elected to the House in 2008, Ms. Kirkpatrick represents the sprawling 1st congressional district, which induces Flagstaff and covers much of the state’s northern and eastern borders. She lost a 2010 re-election bid, but won again in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014 with about 53 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Andy Tobin in one of the country’s closest-watched House races.

Mr. McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, announced last month he will seek a sixth term in the U.S. Senate and could face a challenge from the right as well. A frequent target of conservatives and tea party Republicans over his positions on issues like immigration, Mr. McCain dispatched former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in a 2010 Republican primary en route to re-election that fall.

“I have to convince the voters all over again of Arizona,” Mr. McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told NBC News last month. “But I will stand on my record but more so, I will stand on what I can do for Arizona and the nation.”

Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said Ms. Kirkpatrick has been “part of the problem in Washington and Arizonans are paying the price.”

“She doesn’t believe we should ‘second guess’ President Obama which is why she supported Obamacare, his trillion dollar stimulus that created jobs in China and cuts to Medicare,” Ms. Bozek said. “There is no question Ann Kirkpatrick has made life worse for Arizona families.”

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