A conservative challenger to Arizona Sen. John McCain says the time has come to retire the five-term Republican both for his “dismal record” and simply for being in Washington too long.

Former GOP state Sen. Dr. Kelli Ward is mounting a spirited challenge to McCain leading up to Arizona’s U.S. Senate primary on August 30, just one day after McCain turns 80 years old. Polling is sparse on this race and Ward says it’s close but it’s anybody’s guess who is ahead.

“The polling is very difficult because there are so many new voters. There are people who are inspired to vote because of the changes at the presidential level,” said Ward. “I think it’s neck-and-neck. I think it’s very telling that here now 10-11 days before the primary, John McCain is now suddenly scrambling to buy ads to attack me himself, not just through his SuperPAC, but his own campaign,” said Ward.

While at least one poll over the past couple of months suggest a race within the margin of error, a new poll conducted by the firm of a former Arizona Republican Party official has McCain comfortably ahead, 50-29 percent.

Ward says McCain’s own actions prove those numbers are wrong.

“One of the polls out recently I think is completely bogus. If he were that far ahead of me, why would he be spending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, to attack me here in the homestretch,” said Ward.

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Ward has two major reasons for trying to #RetireMcCain as her campaign’s hashtag proclaims: the senator’s record and his entrenched position in Washington’s political class. However, she makes clear McCain’s record frustrates her most.

“Most important is his dismal record of voting for tax hikes and bailouts, massive spending, amnesty, liberal judges, and the fact he’s been in Washington for almost 40 years,” said Ward.

McCain won a House seat in 1982 and was first elected to the Senate four years later. Ward says over three decades in Washington is more than enough.

“Our country was never designed to have a political ruling class that stayed in power for decades. So it’s time to pass that torch and I want to give him the best eightieth birthday present ever – the gift of retirement,” said Ward.

The 47-year-old Ward says Arizona voters will not have to worry about chasing her out of Washington in 30 years.

“I am running on the term limits pledge. I will not stay in Washington longer than two terms. I think 12 years in Washington, D.C., is probably more than enough time for anyone to start an agenda, accomplish a lot of it and pave the way for the next generation to take the torch,” said Ward.

Ward is especially critical of McCain on border security. When running for re-election in 2010, McCain aired an ad touting himself as committed to border security and stopping the flow of criminals and smugglers into the state. The ad became famous for McCain saying, ‘Complete the danged fence.'”

Ward says McCain is a failure on the issue.

“We’re still having the drug trafficking, the home invasions, the illegal people flooding in and affecting every aspect of society, from healthcare to education to public safety and correction to our economy to our very American culture. It’s all under assault because of our open border,” said Ward.

After winning his fifth term, McCain played a leading role the Senate bill to reform immigration policy. Ward says that action proves McCain cannot be trusted with securing our borders.

“The comprehensive immigration reform bill they tried to pass of with the Gang of Eight was an amnesty bill. People aren’t going to stand for that. We need a clean bill about border security first and foremost. Then we will worry about cleaning up the mess that decades of an open border have left us with here in our country,” said Ward.

She says their positions going forward are also very different.

“John McCain is a big fan of open borders. He wants to pull the wool over the eyes of the Republican voter and the voter in general, Republican and Democrat, to make them think he’s trying to keep them safe. We all know that border security is national security and I’m ready to mix the mortar to fix the border,” said Ward.

Ward also contends that she would be a more effective voice in Washington to strengthen the military and provide better care for our veterans. How does she make that case against the sitting chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee?

She says the world is not safer as a result of John McCain’s 34 years in Washington, especially in light of his support for numerous overseas interventions. She believes McCain has more in common with Hillary Clinton on foreign policy.

“They share the foreign policy of invade the world, invite the world. Invade the world through nation building and expensive occupation, invite the world through opening our borders and bring people into our country. That policy has led to terrorist attacks across this world. There are piles of bodies from Benghazi to Orlando. That’s why we’ve got to change Washington, D.C.’ by sending the people we send there,” said Ward.

As voters in the Grand Canyon State make up their minds heading into the August 30 primary, Ward has a final message for them.

“I want them to know I’m going to mix the mortar to fix the border. I’m going to heal the VA. I will be a conservative champion for Arizona and for America in the United States Senate,” she said.

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