But the brouhaha didn’t start because he’s running, although that surely didn’t make certain people in the Republican Party happy. This current agitation can be traced to a Newsmax report dated Monday, May 28, titled, "Cindy McCain Set to Succeed Husband in Senate."
In that article, written by John Gizzi, there’s a lot of expectation and even proclamation that Cindy will be the new Arizona Senator, should Senator John McCain resign or pass away as a result of his brain cancer. What isn’t in the article is a source that is willing to be named or speak on the record.
The first two paragraphs read,
"As Arizonans prepare for their final salute to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Republicans and political pundits in the state privately tell Newsmax they expect the appointment of his wife, Cindy, to succeed him in the Senate.
"Of course, no one in the Grand Canyon State who spoke to us wants to go on record discussing what will happen when the ailing McCain no longer holds his seat. But those who did, agree almost unanimously, Cindy McCain following John in the Senate through appointment by Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Ariz., is a near certainty."
The article doesn’t even clarify how many people made secret statements about this topic to Mr. Gizzi. But it is written in a way that sounds as if 'Senator Cindy McCain' is a matter of when, not if.
On May 31, just one day after turning in his petition signatures, Ken Bennett stepped out, launching a brand new campaign issue with a simple, but bold tweet.
I promise I will not appoint Cindy McCain to US Senate as Gov of AZ. #bennettforgov— Ken Bennett (@BennettArizona) May 31, 2018
Daniel Scarpinato, spokesperson for Governor Ducey responded,
The statement speaks for itself. We are honestly in shock that he would stoop so low and say something that’s so clearly in poor taste. Ken Bennett has disqualified himself from consideration by anyone with any sense of decency. He should be ashamed of himself.— Daniel Scarpinato (@Scarpinato) May 31, 2018
The next day, June 1, Bennett doubled down with a press release,
"I am running to be the Governor of Arizona and I want the people to know where I stand. For days the media reports that Governor Ducey is appointing Cindy McCain to John McCain’s seat...
"I want Arizona to know that I will not appoint Cindy McCain to the U.S. Senate as the Arizona Governor. John McCain’s ‘thumbs down’ is the reason we still have Obamacare and his wife will vote the same way. And Governor Ducey told him to do it. Obamacare is a job killer and hurting small businesses in Arizona and it needs to be repealed. I thank Senator McCain for his service to this country and have the highest respect for the sacrifices he has made, but I am running to be the Governor of Arizona and am not afraid to make tough decisions. I will use the position of Governor to rid us of Obamacare however I can.
"Who would I appoint? The person who will vote ‘thumbs–up’ on repealing all of Obamacare, and who displays a clear record of being pro-life, pro-second amendment, is committed to securing the border and who will support helping Trump make NAFTA a ‘Fair Trade’ deal.
"I find it interesting that Ducey does not deny the media reports that he plans to appoint Cindy McCain but his people sure do have alot of nasty things to say about me. I do not believe that telling you the truth is indecent nor shameful because I believe that making tough decisions is the right thing to do."
Following that, Representative Paul Gosar jumped into the fray with a tweet of his own:
.@dougducey is wrong @bennettarizona is right. It is a matter of public policy. Gov. Ducey or team floated the name. We want the most qualified for Senate. Cindy McCain is not. I reject leftist tactics of attacking the person and urge Ducey to stand down.— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) June 2, 2018
Enter Mark Salter. Salter has served McCain as an aide, speechwriter and co-author. At this point in the twitter conversation, he contributes his own comments to the twitter thread with an 'eloquence' all his own.
Hey dumbass, the seat isn't vacant. Mind your own business and continue being the same useless do-nothing MC you've been from the start.— Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) June 2, 2018
Of course, Salter's reply could not be ignored:
No, I mostly lament the lack of class and decency in your approach to politics. And I'm not alone. Your own family doesn't like you.— Mark Salter (@MarkSalter55) June 2, 2018
Surely the situation is clear by now. Shall we give the last word to Ken Bennett?
And, that, my friends, is how a simple article, quoting only unnamed sources and with no published documentation or proof whatsoever, launched a genuine Republican brouhaha. (By the way, the Newsmax writer will surely thank all involved if he gets a chance.)
Yes, it’s going to be a fun election season.
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