Two well-known national political figures — Republican John McCain and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz — are both facing primary challenges in their home states from the anti-establishment wings of their parties on Tuesday.
McCain, an incumbent senator and 2008 Republican nominee for president, is being challenged by Kelli Ward, a former state senator and Donald Trump supporter who has been running to McCain’s right, in Arizona’s Senate primary.
Wasserman Schultz, an incumbent member of the House and former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, faces Tim Canova, a progressive who has been running to her left in Florida’s 23rd congressional district primary and has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders.
In the Arizona Senate race, polls have shown McCain with a comfortable lead. But Ward’s supporters are still holding on to hope: a last-minute poll published this week by Breitbart News and conducted by Gravis Marketing shows Ward down just four points on McCain, with 23 percent of voters undecided.
Ward has suggested McCain – who just turned 80 – may not survive another six-year term in the Senate.
“John McCain has fallen down on the job. He’s gotten weak, he’s gotten old,” Ward said last week on MSNBC.
In the Florida House race, a South Florida Sun Sentinel/Florida Atlantic University has Wasserman Schultz up 10 points on Canova, with the incumbent getting 50 percent of likely primary voters to the challenger’s 40 percent.
Canova has capitalized on the frustration of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party with Wasserman Schultz’s leadership of the DNC. After emails were released this summer indicating the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Sanders in the presidential primary this year, Wasserman Schultz was forced out of the chairman position.