Conservative Ward sets stage to announce bid for U.S. Senate

Lake Havasu City doctor expected to answer call for 'reinforcements'

State Senator Kelli Ward

State Senator Kelli Ward

KINGMAN - If the wording state Sen. Kelli Ward used in an email invitation sent out to supporters on Friday is any indication, Mohave County's senior lawmaker on Tuesday will announce she intends to challenge U.S. Sen. John McCain in 2016 after months of testing the waters.

The email, addressed to "fellow conservatives," immediately let readers know what she thinks of McCain, 78, one of the longest-serving members of the Senate who has come under fire in recent years for being too moderate for some Republicans.

"As you know, for the past few months I've been considering a run for the U.S. Senate against liberal John McCain," she began her message. "I've been truly honored and humbled by all the encouragement and support I've gotten from tens of thousands of Arizonans like you who want fresh, courageous new leadership."

Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, further hinted at her plans when she wrote that the "status quo and politics of the past aren't working for Arizona or America." She said, "weak-kneed establishment Republicans have gone along with the [President Barack] Obama agenda, and conservatives in Congress have begged us to send them reinforcements."

Ward, 46, confirmed she was considering a run against McCain in March, and began an exploratory campaign to see if there was support. If there was, the next question became: How much in campaign contributions can we collect?

Finding the funds to pay for the kind of high-powered and expensive campaign that is necessary in such substantial races was Ward's primary concern. McCain had $3.5 million cash to spend when he announced last March.

Ward will make her announcement at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Shugrues Restaurant and Bar in Lake Havasu City - 1425 North McCulloch Blvd. The event is open to the public.