A couple of Tea Party lawmakers are strongly considering challenging Sen. John McCain in 2016, but they won’t both get in the race.

Arizona GOP Reps. Matt Salmon and David Schweikert, who are “best friends” on Capitol Hill, have spent recent weeks mulling over the possibility with family members, analyzing polling and keeping tabs on McCain, as he makes moves toward running for a sixth Senate term.

But if one decides to take a shot against the state’s entrenched senior senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee, the other won’t.

“If Matt came to me and said he wants to pull the trigger, it would mean we would probably offer to chair his committee,” Schweikert told The Hill in an interview. “Nothing even close to that [has happened]. Seriously, not even that first step.”

Salmon has a larger war chest than Schweikert. As of Nov. 24, 2014, Salmon had $545,000 cash on hand, while Schweikert only had $66,000. McCain, meanwhile, had $1.54 million in his campaign coffers as of Sept. 30, 2014.

Salmon and Schweikert would be among the best positioned and best known of the slew of possible primary challengers expected to run against McCain — a top target of conservative activists who view him as too moderate on issues such as immigration and taxes.

McCain was met with a mix of boos, curses and cheers, when he took the stage last weekend at the Arizona Republican Party’s annual meeting, and a dozen activists turned their back on the senator. But that was nicer treatment than what McCain experienced at the same meeting a year earlier, when local activists and precinct committeemen voted to censure the 78-year-old Arizona senator.

McCain has been raising campaign cash, traveling the state and aggressively moving to purge conservative foes from the state party — part of the reason for the jeers last weekend.

“As he’s said, Sen. McCain is strongly leaning toward running for reelection,” said his top spokesman, Brian Rogers. “In the meantime, he’s taking all the necessary steps to be in the strongest position possible when he makes a final decision.”

McCain has long been at odds with the two congressmen — both beat primary opponents he endorsed to win their House seats.

Salmon downplayed any talk of taking on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee chairman and revered Vietnam War POW. “I’m just happy to be here and do my job,” Salmon said in a recent interview at the House and Senate GOP retreat in Hershey, Pa. “I’m happy to be in the office I’m in.”

Read more on The Hill<.

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Replies to This Discussion

While I like Matt Salmon in many ways, I hope that David takes on McStain.  Matt is too comfortable - just as he was in 1998 when he encouraged supporters saying he would run against JaneDee then compromising at the last moment.  Also, to defeat McStain, a challenger will have to take the fight to the Party Platform Betrayer.  Anything less than a strong aggressive campaign that wakes up the conservatives across Rs,  Independents and PNDs will fail.

What is your opinion on Paul Gosar, could he take on "McShame?"

Hard to say.  It's going to come down to who has the money to compete.  Republican platform Conservatives organized and on the ground can overcome some of the lack of funding, but by no means all.  As it stands today, Salmon is in the best financial condition to make a run at McCain.  That question comes down to who is the most committed candidate?  It will be a rough ride.  Platform conservatives will need to put their personal preferences aside to support a candidate who can win against McCain. Closing the primary is the best place to start.  Contact the AZGOP chairman, Robert Graham, and demand, DEMAND, he follow the wishes of the party faithful and CLOSE THE DANG PRIMARY!  He has the standing to do it.

I am not familiar with either Salmon or Schweikert.  McCain has to go.  That is my battle cry from now until the primary.

Where did anyone get the idea that he is a revered Vietnam War POW? Certainly not from his fellow prisoners.

From the same people who said that Robert Graham was a conservative.

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