Mean John McCain is back on the campaign trail.
This week, the Arizona Republican has harshly attacked two Democrats whom he may have to serve with in 2015: Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kay Hagan of North Carolina. The women aren’t just fellow senators — they also serve on the Armed Services Committee that McCain likely will lead if Republicans take control of the Senate.
On Monday, the famously outspoken senator said Shaheen has not been a “serious member” of the panel. And he knocked Hagan in strident terms on Tuesday for missing a briefing about Islamic State militants to raise money in New York in February — six months before the terror network began beheading Americans.
“Here we are with Americans being beheaded, and Sen. Hagan doesn’t even show up for the briefing,” McCain said during an event in North Carolina, according to The Charlotte Observer. “She goes to a fundraiser instead.”
(POLITICO’s 2014 race ratings)
He also blasted Shaheen in her own backyard. At an American Legion post in Nashua, New Hampshire, McCain said she showed little independence from her party and lacked engagement on the panel.
“I don’t see her at very many of the hearings,” McCain said, according to New Hampshire Journal. “I have not seen her really active in the committee.”
Senators have been increasingly comfortable campaigning against their sitting colleagues over the past decade, a practice that went mainstream in 2004 when former Republican Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee openly and successfully stumped against former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. But not everyone is going that way, aware of the fallout that campaigning against a senator who may very well win reelection can bring.
“I will not go into a state that has a sitting colleague,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a key surrogate for Democrats in conservative states, said in an interview last month. “It’s just a horrible precedent.”