U.S. Sen. John McCain laughed at the possibility that former Alaska governor Sarah Palin may challenge him in the 2016 election.
After dropping hints that he was considering retiring, the 78-year-old Arizona Republican is now expected to announce that he will run for a sixth term — to the dismay of many conservatives.
And while he expects to see a primary challenger, the moderate lawmaker is certain it will not be Palin.
“Oh, that’s foolish,” McCain told The Arizona Republic. “Sarah and I have maintained a very close and warm relationship. That’s just not in the realm of possibility.”
McCain is largely responsible for Palin’s rise from obscurity, after choosing her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.
Palin maintains a part-time residence in Scottsdale, and mythical tea party leaders see her as the “fantasy candidate” to challenge McCain, according to the The New York Times.
The Arizona Republican Party formally censured McCain early this year over his consistently liberal voting record, and conservatives in the party are vying to field a viable candidate to challenge him in the primary.
“I know that they will do everything they can to recruit somebody, but I can promise you it’s not Sarah Palin,” McCain said.
Considering she campaigned for McCain in 2010 and spoke on his behalf after he was censured, according to The Republic, McCain is likely correct.
In a recent interview, Palin did not rule out running for office in some capacity in 2016, but was more excited about her reality TV show, “Amazing America with Sarah Palin,” having been renewed for a second season. Watch the segment here:
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