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Congressman to Consider John McCain Primary Challenge

Schweikert could challenge McCain in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Schweikert could challenge McCain in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., plans to keep his options open for 2016, saying he would consider future runs — including a primary challenge to Sen. John McCain — after the holidays.  

“My wife and I made an agreement that we would wait until after the holidays, and then we would have a family meeting,” Schweikert told CQ Roll Call in between votes Tuesday, his wife by his side. “The whole thing: whether you’re gonna run at all over again, do you weigh options for other things.”  

“Like everything we do in the political world, we’ll do it very disciplined,” he added. “We’ll do it with math and data and polling, and go from there.”  

Schweikert also suggested some of his decision “also may hinge on what happens this week” with committee assignments.  

McCain has said he will likely seek a sixth term. Asked about the possibility of a member of the Arizona delegation challenging him in a primary, McCain said he expected it. “I think many people are not ruling it out,” McCain said. “I’d certainly expect a primary. I always have had a primary.”  

In the 2010 primary, McCain crushed former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, 56 percent to 32 percent.  

In January, McCain was censured by the Maricopa County Republican Party, which accused him of campaigning as a “conservative” only to “flip-flop on those promises.”  

Still, McCain would probably enter the race the favorite. “My own personal view is that while he will not take the campaign for granted, that he knows how to win a campaign,” said former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.  

Asked whether he wanted to serve in the Senate at any point in the future, Schweikert said he was not sure.  

“That’s actually a brilliant question. I’ve almost never thought that far,” he said. “In some ways, I’m amazed I’m here. And so are a lot of constituents.”  

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

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