Associating with liberal Democrats? Ariz. GOP censures McCain

The Arizona Republican Party formally chastised Sen. John McCain Saturday, saying he ran as a conservative, but supported too many liberal issues. McCain is up for reelection in 2016.

By , Associated Press

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    Senator John McCain gestures during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos January 24.
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The Arizona Republican Party formally censured Sen. John McCain on Saturday, citing a voting record they say is insufficiently conservative.

The resolution to censure McCain was approved by a voice-vote during a meeting of state committee members in Tempe, state party spokesman Tim Sifert said. It needed signatures from at least 20 percent of state committee members to reach the floor for debate.

Sifert said no further action was expected.

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McCain spokesman Brian Rogers declined to comment on the censure. But former three-term Sen. Jon Kyl told The Arizona Republic that the move was "wacky."

"I've gone to dozens of these meetings and every now and then some wacky resolution gets passed," Kyl told the newspaper on Saturday. "But most people realize it does not represent the majority of the vast numbers of Republicans."

Kyl also said McCain's voting record was "very conservative."

McCain isn't up for re-election until 2016, when will turn 80. He announced in October that he was considering running for a sixth term.

According to the resolution, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee has campaigned as a conservative but has lent his support to issues "associated with liberal Democrats," such as immigration reform and funding the federal health care law.

Several Republican county committees recently censured McCain.

Timothy Schwartz, the Legislative District 30 Republican chairman who helped write the resolution, said the censure showed that McCain was losing support from his own party.

"We would gladly embrace Sen. McCain if he stood behind us and represented us," Schwartz said.

Fred DuVal, a Democrat who plans to run for Arizona governor, called the censure an "outrageous response to the good work Sen. McCain did crafting a reasonable solution to fix our broken immigration system."

McCain has been dogged by conservatives objecting to his views on immigration and campaign finance, among other issues, since he first ran for Congress in 1982. Republican activists were also turned off by his moderate stances in the 2000 presidential race.

McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and won his Senate seat in 1986.

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