WASHINGTON — Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain is leaning toward running for a sixth term in 2016, he said Friday.
"I still think I have a lot to do," he said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "I'm most likely going to run for re-election."
Now chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain said Friday that he wants to continue serving past 2016, regardless of which party controls the chamber. McCain turns 80 that year.
McCain and his party have clashed over the past year, with the state Republican party censuring him for being insufficiently conservative on such issues as immigration and gun control. He's been dogged by criticism over those issues and more since he first ran for Congress in 1982.
McCain was elected to the House that year and to the Senate in 1986. He ran for president in 2000 and lost the GOP nomination to George W. Bush, who went on to serve two terms as president. McCain won the nomination in 2008, but lost the general election to President Barack Obama.
McCain returned to the then Democratic-controlled Senate to continue serving on the armed services committee, which has jurisdiction over military affairs and national security.
The November midterm elections flipped control of the Senate to the Republicans, and McCain, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, became chairman.