TUCSON, Ariz. (CAP) - Arizona Senator John McCain's quest for the White House took on more urgency this week with the news that the state's Secretary of State was bowing to pressure and scheduling a special recall election, tentatively set for late next week.
"We have heard the cries of frustration from the electorate and have decided that a recall election is the only way to satisfy the thousands and thousands of calls, letters and emails we've been receiving," said a spokeswoman for Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer.
"While it is not our job to stand in judgment of Sen. McCain's performance in office, it is our job to ensure that elected officials are answerable to their employers, the people," added Brewer.
Special interest groups have been urging Arizona residents to contact state government officials since news reports surfaced this summer detailing Sen. McCain's attendance record during the 110th Congress. McCain has not recorded a vote since April 8, and he has only attended 25% of full Senate Armed Services Committee meetings over the past year and a half.
"The man's running for president, and I get that, but to treat your pet committee so shabbily and essentially leave our nation's veterans hanging out to dry for a couple of years is unconscionable," says Warren Landers, director of the group The Coalition to Enforce Elective Responsibility.
"The citizens of Arizona deserve someone who is in there working for the peoples' interests, not their own," Landers noted.
Much like the California special recall election of Gray Davis in 2003, Arizona's announcement has generated immense interest in running for the senate seat. Over 125 Arizonans have already filed to run with the Secretary of State's office, including several well-known residents who are hoping to trade on their celebrity status for the title Mister or Madame Senator.
Actress and Sedona resident Sean Young has been criss-crossing the state campaigning in a handmade Catwoman costume almost from the moment the Secretary of State made the recall election announcement. Phoenix resident Alice Cooper has expressed interest in running, as has Stephen Baldwin, who is vowing to mix politics, faith and career by claiming Jesus as a "special advisor" and filming it all for an up-coming reality show called So You Want To Be A Senator?
John McCain is also expected to file to keep his job, and while aides are publicly positive about his chances, behind the scenes there is growing concern that the 71-year-old senator may be setting himself up for a double failure by trying to run two campaigns at the same time.
"Our Straight Talk Express is looking more and more like Sybil is driving it," one top staffer confided. "I can't imagine trying to keep yet one more set of facts in our heads."
The filing deadline for the special recall election is this Wednesday at 5pm (MST).
- Rich Gray