Hardball

McCain Primary Gets Nasty

Sen. John McCain’s presumptive challenger in the Republican primary for his Arizona Senate seat hasn’t officially filed yet, but already the race is getting ugly. J.D. Hayworth, former congressman and talk-show host, had a complaint filed against him with the Federal Elections Commission by former McCain Chief of Staff and Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who says that Hayworth has been illegally promoting his candidacy on his radio show. Woods wrote, "You can't use the public airwaves ... to explore your candidacy for public office ad nauseam, and I stress the nausea." Hayworth responded on Twitter that he was exercising his First Amendment rights, and then called Woods an “ambulance chaser” on his show. Then, a McCain-linked push poll revealed the sitting senator was 20 points ahead—and the lead jumped to 33 points when respondents were told that Hayworth never returned campaign donations he received from convicted felon Jack Abramoff. This month, Hayworth raised $110,000 at a fundraiser and has said he’ll wait till early 2010 to make a decision about running.