J.D. Hayworth is a former US Representative, who now plies the airwaves for Clear Channel at KFYI-AM Phoenix AZ during afternoon drive. A protégé of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has complained to the FEC that Hayworth is improperly using his radio platform to promote his own possible candidacy for McCain’s seat.
Hayworth’s program, “Common Sense for Uncommon Times,” runs locally from 4PM-7PM on KFYI’s 550 kHz dial position.
Grant Woods, whose resume includes stints as Arizona’s attorney general and McCain’s chief of staff, filed the complaint, saying Hayworth’s radio platform would require $540K in weekly advertising to rebut, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
Hayworth shot back that he is not a candidate for anything, and is free to exercise his First Amendment rights.
CQ Politics rates McCain’s seat, which comes up for voter referendum next year, as safely Republican. But while Democrats are lacking a strong candidate, McCain already faces a primary challenge from Minuteman founder Chris Simcox. The name of Hayworth, who is said to be popular with social conservatives and anti-immigration groups, is said to come up in discussions of both the US Senate and the Arizona governorship.
Arizona Republic says McCain is aware of the FEC filing and supports it, but is not expressing significant concern about any possible primary challenge.
RBR-TVBR observation: As far as we understand it, FCC rules on equal broadcast time apply to candidates, not potential candidates or former candidates. Ditto the FEC’s regulations on campaign contributions. Neither Clear Channel nor anyone else can contribute to a campaign that doesn’t exist. We don’t believe Woods’ complaint has legs.