Ariz. Gov. Will Not Endorse McCain
PHOENIX (AP) _ Arizona Sen. John McCain said Friday his home state’s governor, Jane Hull, told him she will endorse his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
McCain has been counting on Arizona’s early Republican primary Feb. 22 to boost his chances three weeks later in California, where he is campaigning with life-or-death fervor.
McCain said he spoke with Mrs. Hull by telephone earlier Friday.
Bush is scheduled to make his first campaign stop in Arizona Tuesday and a source close to his campaign confirmed that Mrs. Hull planned to use the visit to announce her endorsement. Aides to her would not deny those plans.
``Officially, the governor has not made an endorsement,″ said Francie Noyes, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Hull. ``She does have a meeting with Gov. Bush.″
McCain said he was disappointed by Mrs. Hull’s decision but remained confident he could carry his home state, where he recently won his third Senate term by a wide margin.
``I consider Jane a friend and I will naturally continue to work with her on behalf of the people of Arizona,″ McCain said.
Other seekers of the Republican presidential nomination next year also have wooed Mrs. Hull. Former Vice President Dan Quayle, who now lives in Arizona and publisher Steve Forbes have met with her seeking support.
Arizona’s early primary makes the state attractive for candidates needing a springboard and for the front-running Bush, who would like to lock up the GOP nomination without an expensive fight.