John McCain's Former Rival Suggests the Republican Senator Should Quit Over Cancer Diagnosis

John McCain
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain speaks during the committee’s hearing on foreign cyberthreats, on Capitol Hill, January 5. McCain was one of three Republicans who voted down the “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill. Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/Reuters

A former rival of Senator John McCain's has suggested he should step aside following his cancer diagnosis and appeared to hint she should take his job.

The Arizona Republican announced on Wednesday he had been diagnosed with brain cancer and has not made any suggestion he will need to step down because of his health, prompting Dr. Kelli Ward, who ran against him in last year's GOP primary, to give him advise on stepping down.

Writing on her website, the Senate candidate who is now running against senator Jeff Flake in the 2018 primary, suggested McCain should be spending more time with his family.

"Senator McCain and his family have a lot of hard decisions to make. As a doctor, I've counseled people in similar situations and these end-of-life choices are never easy. I usually advise terminal patients to reduce stress, relax, and spend time laughing with loved ones," she wrote.

"The Senate has complicated and difficult problems to deal with and Arizona deserves to be represented by someone who can focus on those challenges."

"I hope and pray that Senator McCain will be comfortable as he battles this terrible disease," Ward added.

And in an interview with an Indiana radio station, Ward reiterated her thoughts, stating: "Because I have a proven track record of years in the state Senate of being extremely effective and of listening to the voice of the people that I represent. And you know, I made an extremely good showing against Senator McCain against all odds."

She added: "I hope Sen. McCain is going to look long and hard at this, that his family and his advisers are going to look at this, and they're going to advise him to step away as quickly as possible, so that the business of the country and the business of Arizona being represented at the federal level can move forward."

However, McCain has made no suggestion that he will be stepping down because of his health, and is not due to run for re-election until 2022.

In a message on social media on Wednesday, McCain said: "I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support—unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I'll be back soon, so stand-by!"