Former state Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward, a candidate to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, says it is time for Sen. John McCain to step down from his seat.
In an interview over the weekend, MSNBC’s Kassie Hunt asked Ward whether she thought someone should be appointed to replace McCain.
“I think that anybody’s who’s not able to do their job should step aside and allow the process to continue in Washington, D.C., because there is such important work that has to be done,” Ward replied.
“We have big work ahead of us in the United States Senate,” the candidate contended. “We’ve got the American First agenda we want to accomplish. We want to secure the border. We want to replace Obamacare. We want to keep building and growing the economy.”
She continued, “We want to make sure we rebuild our military back up to full strength and take care of our veterans. And those things can’t be done if we don’t have people in Washington, D.C., to do it.”
Ward, who is a medical doctor, made a similar point last summer after first learning of McCain’s diagnosis.
The Arizona senator — first elected to the office in 1986 — is fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer.
The illness was diagnosed last July and has led to the 81-year-old having to miss significant amounts of time from the Senate as he undergoes treatment in his home state.
McCain left Washington in mid-December due to the side effects of chemotherapy and has not returned since.
He missed the December vote for Trump’s tax reform bill, which narrowly passed the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48.
With the loss of the seat formerly held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Alabama in December, the Republican majority now sits at 51 to 49.
McCain’s daughter Meghan told CNN over the weekend that her father is recovering from a rough patch that included a bout with pneumonia.
“He’s doing really good, all things considered,” Meghan McCain said. “He had sort of a bad bout at Christmas time. He was hospitalized at Walter Reed. He had ramifications from his chemotherapy. He had pneumonia. But he’s made this, like, really incredible comeback.”
Flake visited McCain on Saturday and tweeted that his Senate colleague is “gaining strength.”
Ward resigned her seat in Arizona’s state senate in 2015 to challenge McCain and garnered nearly 40 percent of the vote in a field of four Republican candidates to McCain’s 52 percent, which was his lowest primary re-election bid tally.
Ward campaign press secretary Zach Henry made it clear in a statement to The Western Journal that the candidate believes when or whether McCain decides to leave the Senate is up to him.
“First and foremost, Senator McCain is dealing with a difficult health issue, so our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family, and we wish him a speedy recovery,” Henry said. “Any such decision (to step down) should be a private matter made in consultation with a physician and family.”
“Unfortunately, some have wrongly tied Senator McCain’s health issue to Dr. Ward’s opposition of him (based on the issues), but they are entirely separate matters,” he added.
Ward currently is seeking the Republican nomination to replace Flake in a three-way race between Congresswoman Martha McSally and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.