Arizona Senator John McCain has a new challenger for the upcoming 2016 Senate elections. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat from Arizona, announced on 26 May that she is vying for McCain's Senate seat in the next elections.
"In Arizona, we tell it straight, so let's get right to it — I'm announcing my candidacy for the United State Senate," Kirkpatrick said in her video announcement. "I respect John McCain's service to our nation. I just believe our state's changing. Arizonans should have a real choice who they send to the United States Senate."
According to the Washington Post, Kirkpatrick will be a "battle-proven challenger who has won several elections in a competitive congressional district." The Democrat congresswoman was first elected to office in 2008 as a representative for Arizona's 1st Congressional District. While she lost her re-election bid in 2010, she was able to win back her seat in 2012, the Post reported.
AZ Central reported that Kirkpatrick named the economy as a top issue during her campaign. "I've got a vision for the future of Arizona — and it's all about jobs," she said in an email to supporters on Tuesday. "I know this isn't going to be an easy race. But I've got my boots on, my sleeves are rolled up, and I'm ready to work."
In a statement from his spokesman Brian Rogers to The Arizona Republic, McCain welcomed Kirkpatrick to the race and said he "looks forward to running a vigorous campaign no matter who the Democratic nominee is".
However, National Republicans were not as welcoming to Kirkpatrick's announcement.
"Ann Kirkpatrick has been part of the problem in Washington and Arizonans are paying the price," National Republican Senatorial Committee Communication Director Andrea Bozek said. "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. There is no question Ann Kirkpatrick has made life worse for Arizona families."
The Washington Post noted that while Kirkpatrick's Senate bid might be a recruiting win for Democrats, the party will now be forced to find a candidate to run for the congressional seat she is vacating.
The party faces a similar hurtle in Florida after Representative Patrick Murphy announced he was running for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.
Kirkpatrick also faces a potential Demoratic primary challenger, the Washington Post reported. Fellow Arizona Representative Kyrsten Sinema has also been named a top choice for the Senate seat.