PHOENIX, AZ -- Former Congressman J.D. Hayworth might just be Arizona's next senator. The local radio personality has publicly toyed with the idea of running against Senator John McCain in the Republican primary, but on Monday he took the first serious step toward a possible run by asking his supporters for money on the premise that he may mount a challenge to McCain's seat.
On Friday, after Rasmussen released results of a poll showing Hayworth and McCain in a statistical tie, Hayworth told listeners of his radio show that he was having serious conversations with his family about running, explaining that he is in the "due diligence" stage. Hayworth said the primary obstacle to mounting a challenge against McCain would be fundraising. He has debt leftover from legal bills incurred through a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into his ties to Jack Abramoff.
On Monday afternoon, Hayworth sent a fundraising plea to help pay off his legal bills on the premise that he may run against McCain. Until now, Hayworth's musing on a Senatorial campaign seemed like political banter, but on his show Friday, he said his ability to raise funds will likely determine the matter. In the fundraising letter, Hayworth says his efforts to pay off old political debt "would certainly be a factor in the decision" of whether to run.
Senator Jon Kyl (R), Arizona's other senator, expressed doubt that Hayworth would run against McCain, "He's got a radio program that I understand is very popular. A lot of folks listen to it. My guess is he will carry on his political activity in that venue."
Hayworth lost his seat to Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) in 2006 largely because of his ties to the Ambramoff scandal. Today, Hayworth would easily garner the conversative vote in Arizona. He has become a local hero among Arizonan immigration enforcement activists, and he is a popular figure among Arizona Tea Partiers. He has promoted the Tea Parties on his radio show and has spoken at Tea Party events.
Rodney Glassman, the only Democrat running against
McCain, was not included in the poll. Glassman is a young Tucson city
councilman who has the support of the local and state Democratic Party
structure and is considered an up-and-comer in Democratic circles in Arizona.
Read Hayworth's fundraising plea:
You have contacted me with words of encouragement following the release of a Rasmussen Reports Poll which finds me in a statistical dead heat with John McCain for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2010.
Miss Mary, our children, and I will do a lot of praying and a lot of talking in the days ahead, as we determine the best course of action to take for our nation and for our family.
You have also asked what you can do in the days ahead.
There is something you can do right now...you will find attached an invitation to an event scheduled for Dec. 5, featuring Joe Arpaio, "America’s Toughest Sheriff." "Sheriff Joe" has very graciously agreed to raise funds for the "Freedom In Truth Trust." The FIT Trust is the fund that was established to help us satisfy legal debts incurred during the 2006 campaign. You can read more about it at http://www.jdhayworth.com/fit-trust.html
You may not live in Arizona...but no matter where you call home, would you respond to the attached invitation and please send a contribution to the FIT Trust?
That would certainly be a factor in the decision we will make at the "Hayworth Hacienda!"
Please feel free to share this e-mail and the attached invitation with others.
In closing, let me stress again that I have made no formal decision regarding a campaign for the U.S. Senate, but if your kind words are followed by tangible support of the upcoming event on Dec. 5, that would serve as another encouraging sign--even eclipsing the recent poll results!
Thank you for your support, and may God bless you and yours.
Member of Congress, 1995-2007