Politics

Sore Losers: Senate Candidates Ingracious in Defeat

McCain, Rubio challengers, Grayson refuse to endorse winning opponents

Arizona's Kelli Ward, Sen. John McCain's defeated primary opponent, said, "I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So much for losing graciously.

The primary challengers to Sens. John McCain and Marco Rubio —  Republicans Kelli Ward and Carlos Beruff, respectively — and Rep. Alan Grayson who lost his Senate bid to fellow Florida Democrat, Rep. Patrick Murphy, were very critical of their opponents as the results of Tuesday's vote became clear.

Ward called McCain an "unprincipled career politician."

“As Sen. McCain said, ‘It shouldn’t be beyond us to refrain from substituting character assassination and mean-spiritedness for spirited debate,’” she said in a statement. “After refusing to debate while running a slash-and-burn campaign devoid of actual ideas, I hope the senator can rest comfortably with his conscience as he continues to lecture others about civility.”

As for the future of her party, Ward said the GOP "cannot win as a national party if we keep nominating unprincipled career politicians whose only objective is perpetual re-election.”

Though he said he would vote for Rubio — "the best remaining option" — Beruff attacked his victorious opponent in a a post on his campaign website for "going back on his word" when he entered the Senate race after his presidential bid had ended. And he took a shot at his other primary opponents who bailed after Rubio's about-face.

“I made the miscalculation of taking Mr. Rubio at his word that he wouldn’t seek re-election if he lost the presidential primary,” Beruff wrote. “Even in March, he reiterated that he has told people ‘10,000’ times that he is not running for re-election. I guess I was silly to believe the words of a Washington politician.”

[Is Rubio's Challenger Throwing in the Towel?]

“Once Mr. Rubio went back on his word, all the other candidates (being the politicians that they are) ran scurrying for the exits,” he wrote. “David Jolly went back to running for Congress, Ron DeSantis went back to running for Congress, and Carlos Lopez-Cantera went back to doing whatever it is that he does, which is basically nothing except collect a check from the Florida taxpayers.”

Beruff said Rubio made a "life mistake."

"A man’s word is the most important thing he has. Mr. Rubio must live with that decision," he wrote.

Grayson said he wouldn't vote for Murphy, who beat him going away in the Florida Democratic primary.

"I'm not going to be endorsing Patrick Murphy for sure," Grayson told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday night. "He's a Republican."

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