WASHINGTON -- There may be more to Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) recent outrage at Democrats than meets the eye. Facing a potentially contentious GOP primary next year, McCain and his tea partying opponent are already resorting to heated personal attacks.

"Even while still in the hypothetical stage, this race has already escalated into push polls, name-calling, and legal complaint filings," Dawn Teo reports in the Huffington Post.

McCain's former chief of staff Grant Woods recently filed a complaint that his likely opponent, talk-radio host and former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ), has been illegally using his radio show to elevate his Senate ambitions, the Arizona Capital Times reports.

Woods also accused him of capitalizing on over half a million dollars in endorsements -- a highly curious charge, as Woods apparently arrived at the figure it by multiplying the money Hayworth's show received for one 30-second ad by the whole length of the program.

"During the past few weeks," Woods wrote, "Mr. Hayworth has repeatedly used almost his entire allotted airtime to promote his candidacy. And Mr. Hayworth has stated his intention to continue to use this corporate subsidy to campaign during the coming months."

"You can't use the public airwaves...to explore your candidacy for public office ad nauseam, and I stress the nausea," added Woods, also a former Attorney General of Arizona.

Hayworth quickly shot back on Twitter: "Paging Mr Grant Woods... you left your brain in the lobby! Woods tries to gag a non-declared non-candidate citizen - ME! 1st Amendment? BAH!"

While Hayworth has not officially announced his candidacy for the Senate seat in 2010, he is considered likely to run, and a Rasmussen poll from last month found him in a dead heat with McCain in a potential head-to-head match-up.

Hayworth then took to his radio show to slam Woods for the legal complaint, calling him an "ambulance chaser" and saying he's "even lower than some bacterial forms of algae," according to the Arizona Capital Times.

He also accused McCain's aides of promoting a "push poll" that showed the former presidential candidate 20 points ahead of Hayworth.

McCain has refrained from making public comments about the potential race, but his change in tone as of late might be an attempt to secure the support of the conservative base, who share his recent anger toward Democrats.