Daniel Doherty

The Maverick is up for re-election in 2016 and unfortunately for him, he’s run into some, shall we say, bumps in the road as of late. The Arizona GOP voted to censure him last weekend, ostensibly for turning his back on the conservatives who elected him, in part by voting in-lock step with Democrats one too many times. But that crystal-clear message from Arizona conservatives might have backfired. Why? Because now the senior Senator from Arizona is telling the Associated Press that censuring him has only given him more “motivation” to seek a sixth Senate term (via WaPo):

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that his state party's vote this past weekend to censure him for being insufficiently conservative might make him more likely to seek another term in 2016.

"If there’s such a thing as motivation to more seriously consider it, it’s what just happened,” McCain told the AP.

McCain added that the censure vote "shows that, again, a very extremist element of the party has taken over the party apparatus."

The five-term Arizona senator, who will turn 80 in 2016, has made little secret that he's looking hard at running again in 2016. If he does run, though, tea party groups are likely to push for a primary challenger.

John McCain will be 80 years old in 2016, and yet he is seriously considering running for re-election? C'mon.

Nevertheless, McCain did garner some words of encouragement and support from perhaps the most unlikely of sources: Sarah Palin. Here’s a taste of an open letter she recently posted on her Facebook page:

It goes without saying we don’t all agree on all political issues. For instance, I shall keep pushing to open ANWR, I oppose letting illegal aliens cut in line and receive American benefits via “immigration reform,” and I oppose any Congressional action that allows President Obama to incur more U.S. debt. During this time of dangerous lawlessness in the executive branch, those who agree on stopping the intended transformation of our country had better unite to fight. So at this time, it's perplexing to see Senator McCain’s good efforts to uncover the Obama agenda being ignored and perhaps even hindered now by those wanting to censure the Arizona Senator. Despite our differences on some other issues, there is no questioning Senator McCain’s dedication to national security in spite of the White House’s agenda.

We live in a time of diminishing virtues because of societal influence towards total self-centeredness. This is unfortunate and makes raising families, conducting business, and governing that much more challenging. I know how important the virtue of loyalty is because in politics it’s pretty much nonexistent. I stand on that most important virtue and answer those asking today: “Yes, I am proud to have been asked to run with him in 2008, and he is my friend.”

She endorsed him in 2010 but it remains to be seen if she will again. Over the last four years he’s voted in favor of a flawed comprehensive immigration reform bill, expanded background checks, and a budget deal that increases taxes and spending. But if she’s still backing him at this point, maybe she will through 2016? Nonetheless, Arizona Republicans will no doubt find a conservative to primary him if he doesn't retire in 2016.

But I'd be surprised if McCain didn't expect and indeed relish that fight when and if it comes.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography