In two exclusive Cactus Politics interviews, where Alex Meluskey and Kelli Ward spoke about their political future and the 2016 election, both former candidates didn’t pull any punches in telling us how they feel about each other.
During the heated senate primary election, both Ward and Meluskey fought for the vote of the anti-McCain wing of the GOP. While Ward successfully garnered the bulk of the conservative vote, she and Meluskey both licked their wounds on election night. Meluskey officially dropped out of the race in July, ahead of the August 30th primary.
Meluskey accuses Ward of being a “liar” and of using dirty tricks during the campaign, calling Alex’s self-funded political campaign financing into question.
When asked about supporting Ward over Sen. Jeff Flake in a potential 2018 senate primary race, Meluskey said the following:
“What I learned during my Senate run is that Kelli Ward may be worse than John McCain. She lied to radio hosts and congressmen about being the only one in the race. She had her staffers file bogus complaints with the FEC. I don’t trust her, I wouldn’t vote for her.” What do you say to these comments?
Cactus politics reached out to Mrs. Ward to ask for comment about Mr. Meluskey’s comments.
We asked, “If you did not run (in 2018), and Mr. Meluskey did, would you support him?”
“Alex spent a lot of time and money and was not able to gain support. He probably has a place in the GOP, but it may not be as a candidate. There is a lot that people can do to make the country great again if they don’t care who gets the credit. He may need to take another role in politics to be effective.
CACTUS: Throughout your race you accused Mr. Meluskey of being a “shill” for John McCain. Looking back, do you still believe he was?
WARD: “Please let me know where I said that because I don’t believe I ever did. I believe I may have said he was a spoiler – and he was. Had he and the other candidate stepped out of the race early when it was obvious they could not win and would only help our current Senator, we’d likely have a different Republican nominee for the US Senate.”
WARD: I say, “Wow. I think this guy is delusional.”
1. Many times I said (& I was) the only VIABLE candidate in the race (the only one who had a chance). Do you constantly hear Trump and Clinton telling people about Johnson and Stein?
2. Our staffers did not file complaints much less bogus ones. I believe there are FEC complaints against the Meluskey campaign though they take years to be resolved. I believe the last ones addressed by the FEC at this time are still from 2014.
3. I’ve earned the trust of 235,000 Arizonans (40% that voted in the primary on 8/30) DESPITE ruthless, untrue attacks and millions of dollars spent to malign me by both Mr. McCain & Mr. Meluskey.”
CORRECTION: Cactus Politics asked: “Throughout your race you accused Mr. Meluskey of being a “shill” for John McCain. Looking back, do you still believe he was?” Mrs. Ward never made the claim herself. However, her supporters and staffers did so on social media.