Jim Deakin says he’s in the Arizona Senate race for the long haul.
The relatively unknown Republican and self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate in Arizona is facing calls from Tea Party supporters of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth to withdraw from the Senate race. Hayworth has been the chief GOP challenger to Sen. John McCain for the seat, but polls show him trailing before next month’s contest.
Annette McHugh, a Hayworth supporter who also leads the Tea Party Patriots of Glendale, said several of the conservative, grassroots groups in the state fear Deakin’s “usurpation” of the Tea Party vote because another anti-McCain candidate could be a spoiler that helps McCain win re-election. She suggested McCain’s campaign may be encouraging Deakin to stay in the race.
But Deakin told The Daily Caller that no one involved with the McCain camp has urged him to stay in the race. “No. I haven’t had any conversations to that effect.”
Deakin, who says his campaign has seen a boost in interest since being included in two debates with Hayworth and McCain, says he’s insulted by suggestions that he’s only contributing to the primary nomination of McCain by staying in.
“If Hayworth has such a weak message, maybe he should drop out and endorse me,” Deakin said.
A spokesman for Hayworth did not immediately return a request for comment.