The Corner

Two House GOPers Mulling Primary Challenge to McCain

Conservative activists have been craving a high-profile primary challenger to take on John McCain as he seeks his sixth term in 2016. Now, they might have two vying for the seat, according to the Hill.

The newspaper reports that Representatives Matt Salmon and David Schweikert are each considering a potential run against Arizona’s senior senator, who’s occupied his seat since 1987. The two are coordinating their plans to ensure that only one of them runs, but it’s still early in the process and no decisions have been made.

“If Matt came to me and said he wants to pull the trigger, it would mean we would probably offer to chair his committee,” said Schweikert. “Nothing even close to that [has happened]. Seriously, not even that first step.”

Schweikert and Salmon came to Congress in 2010 and 2012, respectively, although Salmon previously served in the House from 1995 to 2001. The Hill notes that McCain endorsed each of their primary opponents, a sign of further bad blood between the two congressmen and the senator. The two have also aligned themselves with the more conservative, tea-party faction of the Republican House delegation, which has a deep-seated scorn for McCain.

With a larger war chest — and, reportedly, a greater interest in running — Salmon appears the more likely of the two congressmen to take a shot at McCain’s seat. Although he has not officially declared, McCain’s spokesman said he is “strongly” leaning towards a run.

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