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Ted Cruz Aide's Firm Hired to Target John McCain

Image: Ted Cruz Aide's Firm Hired to Target John McCain
John McCain (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 November 2015 02:43 PM

A firm owned by Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign manager has been hired to help take out Sen. John McCain in his GOP primary, CNN reports.

Kansas City-based Axiom Strategies – founded by the conservative Texas Republican's manager Jeff Roe – has recently received roughly $60,000 in payments for consulting services from the campaign of tea party-backed state Sen. Kelli Ward, who's going up against the 28-year Senate veteran and former GOP presidential candidate.

CNN, citing Federal Election Commission filings, reports Axiom received monthly retainers of $5,000 from Ward's campaign from June through August, with an additional $20,000 for media production and other fees for research. A subsidiary of Axiom also received more than $17,000 for renting lists and printing costs.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has warned any firm helping a primary foe take out a GOP incumbent would be blacklisted.

"Our policy is clear," Kevin McLaughlin, deputy executive director of the party committee, tells CNN. "The NRSC will not work with anyone who works against Senate Republican incumbents."

CNN reports an unnamed source saying Axiom was now looking at severing its work with Ward because of insufficient resources.

Spokespeople for Cruz and Roe denied any involvement in the McCain race.

"Sen. Cruz is in the middle of his own presidential campaign, which is where his focus will remain," Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for Cruz, tells CNN.

Axiom said Roe had been working full-time on Cruz's campaign since February and has had no involvement in the Arizona Senate race, CNN reports.

Cruz, though critical in the past of GOP leaders, including Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, has resisted aiding tea party challengers in their quests to unseat Republican incumbents.

According to CNN, after the 2013 government shutdown fight, Cruz privately told colleagues he wouldn't try to defeat them in their primaries or fundraise for the Senate Conservatives Fund.

McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the biggest target for conservative groups, who have seized on his history of working with Democrats, particularly on immigration.

And McCain and Cruz have clashed before – most memorably when McCain called Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Justin Amash "wacko birds" in March 2013.

He later apologized for the remark.

McCain tells CNN he's planning a wave of positive ads to spotlight his record -- and he would not rule out launching any negative ads against Ward, who has raised just over $500,000.

"You can't overstate the unhappiness that's out there – and it's at Washington," McCain tells CNN. "My view to a large degree is that it's justified. I am working harder than I have in any Senate election since I first ran."

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A firm owned by Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign manager has been hired to help take out Sen. John McCain in his GOP primary, CNN reports.
ted cruz, aide, firm, john mccain, gop, senate
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 02:43 PM
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