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McCain: I’m ‘Absolutely’ Leaning Towards Running for Senate Again

Republican Sen. John McCain says he’s “absolutely” leaning toward running for re-election in Arizona in 2016 and that he’s begun preparing for another bid.

McCain, who will be 80 years old in 2016, told a small group of reporters that he expects that he’ll get a challenge from a Tea Party candidate – as he did during his 2010 re-election race – but that he’s already marshaling support from business and defense groups to help him.

“You have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” McCain told NBC when asked whether he was preparing for a challenge. “I definitely think that I would have to absolutely anticipate a Tea Party candidate or two or three…everybody tells me that I'm the Number One target of the Tea Partiers, so I hope that's not the case.”

“I'd love to be unanimously reelected, but you have to make preparations and we've already talked with finance people in the state, we've already talked to different groups and organizations ranging from the Arizona Chamber from the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance to build the coalitions we need to build,” he added.

In 2010, two years after his second failed presidential bid, McCain beat back a primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman and conservative radio host.