‘Scorched Earth’ in Arizona

April 1, 2010 08:39

McCain talks out of right side of his mouth to hold off  Hayworth primay challenger and pours on the money.

By at American Spectator

PHOENIX, Arizona — Behind a Dunkin’ Donuts in a shopping center on East Cactus Road, J.D. Hayworth’s Senate campaign headquarters has a low-budget look. Near the front door, pinned to a cubicle wall, is a campaign T-shirt proclaiming Hayworth “The Consistent Conservative,” offered for sale at $15 each. Volunteers are stuffing envelopes at a folding table that holds seven telephones, the phone lines dangling down from the ceiling. A large bulletin board is festooned with letters from supporters, including a woman from Dewey, Arizona, who wrote to say, “Sock it to him, please!”

The “him” is, of course, Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s 2008 presidential nominee and the man whose involuntary retirement from the Senate is the goal of Hayworth’s candidacy.

Hayworth sits behind a desk in his office, signing thank-you letters to contributors who have given about $800,000 for his “Million-Dollar March” online fund-raising effort, and reflects on the central irony of this campaign: McCain, an outspoken advocate of “getting the big money out of politics,” is spending big money in an all-out effort to destroy Hayworth’s primary challenge.

“Obviously, the gulf between my opponent’s rhetoric and the reality is so great it exceeds the geographic dimensions of our own Grand Canyon,” Hayworth says. “It’s more than a credibility gap, it’s a credibility canyon.… If he was really concerned about [the influence of political contributions], he certainly seems to have gotten over it very quickly.”

Whether McCain’s big money will be enough to secure his re-election, it undoubtedly gives him advantages against Hayworth, whose low-budget campaign doesn’t expect to match the incumbent dollar-for-dollar in the five months between now and the August 24 primary.


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