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McCain Survives First Real Challenge In Arizona, Clobbering Hayworth

Aug 25, 2010

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It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't without cost.  But Sen. John McCain, seeking a fifth term, trounced former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in the Republican primary in Arizona.

With about 93 percent of the vote counted, McCain had more than 56 percent of the vote, compared to slightly less than 32 percent for Hayworth and 11.7 percent for a third candidate, Jim Deakin.

McCain had never faced a serious challenge for his Senate seat in Arizona, either in the primary or the general election.  But facing longtime resentment from the right, especially over his championing of illegal immigrants reach citizenship status and breaking with George W. Bush policies on taxes and torture — not to mention the rise of the Tea Party and an anti-establishment electorate — McCain was once considered vulnerable.

But he never ignored the threat.  Spending $20 million on the primary, McCain went after Hayworth, whose congressional career came to an end in 2006 following his association with lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who later went to prison.  And he switched positions on immigration, talking more about building a fence on the Mexican border than about building a relationship between the GOP and the Latino community.  Whatever, it worked, and McCain is all but assured of returning to Washington in January.

In the Democratic primary, a closer-than-expected race is developing between the favorite, former Tucson vice mayor Rodney Glassman, and ex-state Rep. Cathy Eden.  Democrats haven't won a Senate race here since 1988.

The race for governor will be between incumbent Republican Jan Brewer, who took office after Janet Napolitano (D) quit to join the Obama Cabinet, and Democratic challenger Terry Goddard.

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