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Maverick enough?

"Maverick enough?" Continued...

Issue: "Profiles in effective compassion," April 24, 2010

In McCain's defense, Justice argues that he's more a victim of a long tenure in the Senate than of a questionable voting record: "I know he gets the RINO tag, but when you've been in the Senate as long as he has, you're bound to have votes that don't appeal to hard-line conservatives. The really fascinating question is if McCain wins the primary, will those who didn't support him hold their noses and vote for him anyway or just not vote. For a lot of Republicans here it's a like a repeat of 2008."

Hayworth is not without critics either. Former State Attorney General Grant Woods has called him "a caricature of the opportunistic, bombastic politician," and more than a few influential Arizona Republicans say that one-on-one meetings with Hayworth convinced them to stick with McCain, that he's more likeable than Hayworth.

But Hayworth has succeeded so far in drawing off some longtime McCain supporters. "I'm definitely thinking of voting for him," says Shelby Carl, an 84-year-old resident of Litchfield Park. In the past Carl has always voted for McCain and supported him in the 2008 presidential race. But Carl says he no longer trusts the senator to represent his interests fully in Washington. "As extreme as the Obama agenda is, I don't think moderates are what we need right now." But Hayworth doesn't hold much personal appeal for Carl, he adds: "Every time I see him, he comes off like a blowhard. He needs to learn to regulate his mouth."

Close observers like Justice argue that if Carl and Republicans like him hand the primary to Hayworth, it could cost them the seat come the general election: "I think if Hayworth wins the primary, there's a good chance a Democrat could walk away with it."

Unity & diversity

Tea Party independence is hard for candidates to depend on

By Megan Basham

Tea Party independence is hard for candidates to depend on Trent Humphries, leader of Arizona's largest Tea Party group, the Tucson Tea Party, says it's easy to get the impression that the movement is one of lock-step, far-right ideology. As an example, he points to national coverage of the Arizona Senate race that suggests members are of one mind not only on the issues but also on the candidates. "There's a common misconception-sometimes put out there purposely I think-that the Tea Party is a one-issue movement like the Minute Man movement, but that's not remotely true. We have conversations with all the candidates, but the thing about the Tea Party movement is that it's very, very decentralized. The only points unifying Tea Partiers are cutting spending and reducing the size of government," he says. Everything else-including key conservative issues like immigration, climate change, and gay marriage-is up for grabs.

"We attract all kinds of different people that way" says Humphries, pointing out that only 60 percent of their members are registered Republi­cans. The rest are Independents, Libertarians, and even Democrats.

While many of Humphries' members currently support Hayworth, neither candidate should count their votes: "What the Tea Party members want to know is what are you going to do once you're in the majority again? Are you fully cognizant of the mistakes you made in the past that helped bring us to this point and are you going to do something different in the future? That's the case that both John McCain and J.D. Hayworth have to make because they both served in a Republi­can Congress that let us down."

Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Memphis, Tenn.. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.

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