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Conservative lawmaker considers challenging McCain in 2016

PHOENIX — An uphill battle could be brewing for Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, who is “testing the waters” of challenging Sen. John McCain in the 2016 GOP primary for the U.S. Senate.

“I’m just kind of in the consideration phase trying to figure out if there is a pathway both political and financial,” Ward said.

While McCain has hinted at running for a sixth term without formally announcing his campaign, Ward is pushing for change on Capitol Hill. She said she could bring fresh, new ideas to the Senate while representing the people of Arizona.

“After 30 years in Washington, you become a little disconnected from the people you represent,” Ward said. “That’s one of the things I’ve really prided myself on as I’ve been a representative of the people, is having that two-way conversation with the people I represent.”

The conservative lawmaker is in her second term at the state legislature and admitted facing the 30-year incumbent and former Republican presidential nominee would be a grueling political race.

“Will the political machinery surrounding our sitting senator come down to crush me?” she questioned. “I’ve been warned by a lot of people that that is what will be attempted.”

Ward has until January 2016 to decide if she will drop out of the state senate and campaign against McCain.