Arizona Senator John McCain still has a lot of spunk, and he isn’t about to put up with any BS from the Tea Party. McCain is 78-years old, but there are strong indications that he is going to run for re-election in 2016, and he is consolidating his support within the Arizona Republican Party.
In January of this year, members of the Arizona State Republican committee lead by Tea Party supporters censured the McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, for not being conservative enough, particularly on the issues of immigration and the Affordable Care Act.
McCain’s reaction was immediate. Since then, McCain’s supporters, and his closest associates, has been on a campaign to rid the Arizona Republican Party of Tea Party officials, and replace them with Senator McCain’s allies prior to McCain’s expected bid for a sixth term in 2016.
McCain is more concerned about Democratic opposition to his re-election campaign, so he is crushing Tea Party opposition from within his own party long before the 2016 campaign starts.
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
June 16, 1858
Gordon James, an Arizona public relations executive and McCain ally, told Politico.com, “There’s been a huge organizational effort that I’ve never seen before. A lot of the party folks who were hostile to John McCain have been marginalized, and that’s a good thing.”
McCain’s supporters even managed to oust the man who authored the censure resolution, Timothy Schwartz, who had been serving as a GOP legislative district chairman.
Another outspoken McCain detractor, A.J. LaFaro, recently announced he will not seek re-election to his county Republican chairmanship. The McCain forces have lined up too much opposition to his Tea Party politics.
McCain’s former deputy campaign manager, Mike Hellon, acknowledged that the censure has prompted action from McCain’s team. “He was very unhappy with the censure and wanted to make sure it never happened again.”
Immediately after the Tea Party’s censure vote in January, a group of McCain’s top aides formed a super PAC, Arizona Grassroots Action, which was dedicated to spending money to elect more McCain allies to Republican committee roles in Arizona. The Political Action Committee raised nearly $300,000 to oust Tea Party advocates from leadership roles in the Arizona Republican party.
Arizona Grassroots Action actively recruited candidates to take up precinct committee positions and spent money during the 2014 midterm elections on mailers and automated phone calls advertising the pro-McCain candidates. The effort pushed outspoken Tea Party Republicans out of their positions in the Arizona Republican party.
These kinds of actions by Tea Party activist will gut the Tea Party.