Alex Meluskey v.s. Kelli Ward

The Arizona Republican Senate primary is heating up with the entrance of Alex Meluskey. Who is Meluskey?

In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Meluskey, a 47-year-old Scottsdale printer, described himself as a “tea party”-aligned social and fiscal conservative who is running against McCain partly because he believes McCain has worn out his welcome.

Meluskey is state director of Arizonans for Fair Tax, a federal tax reform proposal, a precinct committeeman in Legislative District 23 and a member of the Scottsdale Tea Party. He also has a radio show on KKNT-AM (960).

Normally, that would be standard fair in Arizona politics but the race already has one “Tea Party” candidate in the race. Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward has already been campaigning in the Republican primary, as has already crowned herself with the self-identified “Tea Party” label. What does Meluskey say about Ward’s desire for him to drop out of the race?

Meluskey is not McCain’s only 2016 Republican primary foe. State Sen. Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu City and Clair Van Steenwyk, another conservative radio personality, also are running.

Meluskey doesn’t seem worried that his candidacy could splinter the conservative anti-McCain vote and is shrugging off criticism from Ward supporters. Voters should vet and consider the positions of all the candidates, he said.

“Kelli has no entitlement,” Meluskey said. “Why should she be the one who should run against McCain? Because she’s been a state senator for three years?”

Although Meluskey is a significant long shot, he is draining votes from Ward. In order for Ward to be successful, she will need to convince her extreme right coalition to stay together and a split could prove disastrous.

It will be interesting to watch Meluskey v.s. Ward.



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