John McCain reverses course, hints he'll run again

America's most unpopular senator says he's "feeling inclined" to seek another term

Published September 22, 2014 4:14PM (EDT)

  (AP/Ralph Freso)
(AP/Ralph Freso)

Despite earlier hints at retirement and dismal approval ratings in his home state, Sen. John McCain, R-Meet the Press, sounds like he’ll seek a sixth term in 2016.

Over the weekend, McCain told the Arizona Republic that he hasn’t made up his mind about a reelection bid, but he’s “inclined” to seek another six-year term in 2016, when the 2008 GOP presidential nominee will be 80.

“I’m feeling inclined,” McCain told the paper. “I'm just making all the preparations and then some time after the first of the year, I'll make a decision.”

That marks something of a reversal from McCain’s previous statements. Commenting last year on his relationship with erstwhile presidential rival Barack Obama, McCain said, “The president and I, he's in his last term, I'm probably in mine, the relationship we have had over the past three years is quite good. Quite good.” While not entirely closing the door on another run, McCain said he didn’t want to be “one of those old guys that should’ve shoved off.”

If McCain decides to proceed with a reelection bid, he’ll have a real fight on his hands — and he might not even make it past the GOP primary. Despite fending off a Tea Party primary challenge from former Rep. J. D. Hayworth in 2010, McCain’s political standing in the state has dramatically worsened since his last race. In March, Public Policy Polling found that McCain was the most unpopular senator in the country, with an overall approval rating of only 30 percent, against 54 percent of Arizonans who disapproved of his job performance. Among Republicans in his state, McCain garnered only 35 percent approval, while 55 percent of GOP voters disapproved of the party stalwart.

By Luke Brinker

MORE FROM Luke Brinker