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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema dances around subject of challenging Sen. John McCain in 2016
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Rep. Kyrsten Sinema dances around subject of challenging Sen. John McCain in 2016

PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has launched a political fundraising committee to support fellow Democrats around the nation.

But many observers, including KTAR political analyst Mike O’Neil, believed the move was a step toward challenging John McCain for his Senate seat next year.

“It’s not like she has to resign her seat in Congress in order to lay out a marker that she might run for Senate,” O’Neil said.

Sinema told CQ Roll Call this week that forming a political action committee didn’t mean a personal run.

“There are a lot of people in Congress who have leadership PACs. Actually, most. So do you think all of those people are going to run against John McCain? Oof, that’s a big field.”

Right now O’Neil would make McCain the favorite over Sinema but said a lot can change in two years, including McCain’s health.

Arizona’s senior statesman is 78. He has already hinted that he would seek a sixth term.

“We don’t know what kind of primary opposition McCain might get. He could come out of that a weakened. For Sinema, the best case would be if McCain lost in the primary. I don’t think that’s likely.

Republicans mentioned as possible primary challengers to McCain include U.S. Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.).