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John McCain, Martha McSally win, Republicans maintain congressional majority in Arizona

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Sen. John McCain speaks to an audience of veterans in the VET Center inside the Student Union Memorial Center on Thursday, Oct. 13.

John McCain will serve a sixth term as an Arizona Senator. McCain captured 53.2 percent of votes cast, defeating Democratic challenger and former Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, with 97.6 percent of precincts reporting.

After McCain withdrew his support for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump when he bragged about sexually assaulting women, he received backlash from Arizona’s Republican base.

“I did not vote for John McCain because he’s a traitor to this great nation,” said John White of the Tea Party. “I wrote in Kelli Ward, she is the right person for Arizona.”

Kirkpatrick was unable to capitalize on Republican backlash against McCain. 

Gary Swing, the Green Party candidate, hindered Kirkpatrick by capturing 5.5 percent of the popular vote.

Kirkpatrick did not benefit from the anti-establishment backlash this election cycle.

“I’m sorry that we don’t have new blood, but I'm certain that Kirkpatrick wouldn't have been good as new blood,” said Dolores Aguirre Johnston, former Pima County GOP chair.

“We didn’t get the results we wanted in my race, but we made progress,” Kirkpatrick said when conceding to McCain.

Jim Peterson, a member of the Republican Party, attributes McCain’s repeated strong performances in the state to his ability to represent veterans and fund the security of Arizona’s border.

“I believe that McCain’s core beliefs align with veterans',” Peterson said.

Incumbent Martha McSally defeated Democrat Matt Heinz in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District to preserve the Republican majority among Arizona members of the House of Representatives. McSally’s margin of victory is reported to be 35,470 votes over Heinz with 97.6 percent of precincts reporting.

Courtney Talak | The Daily Wildcat

Martha McSally addresses the crowd at her election night party held at the Viscount Suite Hotel Tuesday, Nov. 8. Republicans maintained Arizona's two congressional Senate seats and five of 11 U.S. Representative seats.


“I think McSally was very influential bringing the A10 plan to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which was big for the base and huge economically,” said Tucson resident Arthur Von Bulin.

Von Bulin said he believes McSally’s support for Arizona service members, like that of McCain, and her lack of ties to the political establishment contributed to her decisive victory.

“McSally’s set an example as an amazing leader. I think she has quality decision making; she’s a tough cookie,” Tucson resident Kathy Flores-Bell said. “McSally sets a good example for local girls.”

McSally’s increased support can be attributed to the rapport she built among the community.

Democrat Tom O’Halleran won Kirkpatrick’s former representative seat in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He defeated Republican Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu by winning 51.2 percent of the votes, with 97.6 percent of precincts reporting.

Julia Rose expressed her relief at O’Halleran’s victory. “The small gains that we have made are actually going to look bigger in the light the national results,” Rose said.


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