Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defeated tea party backed primary challenger state senator Kelli Ward by double digits Tuesday evening.
WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defeated tea party backed primary challenger state senator Kelli Ward by double digits Tuesday evening.
“I’m humbled by and grateful for our success tonight and for the honor to be the Arizona Republican Party’s nominee for election to the United States Senate,” McCain told supporters.
McCain, 80, has served in the U.S. Senate for 30 years and is widely regarded as an independent Republican. His self-described maverick reputation has at times caused friction with more conservative members of the GOP. McCain has also at times clashed with Arizona Republican party officials, many of whom believe he is insufficiently conservative.
The Associated Press officially declared McCain the winner at about 8:30 p.m. EST.
Early Wednesday morning AP tabulations showed McCain leading Ward 51.7 percent to 39.1 pecent with 99 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.
Ward said in an interview Tuesday evening that even though the election results were not favorable she is still glad that she decided to throw her hat into the ring.
“I thought we ran an amazing race like had never been seen against an entrenched career politician,” Ward told The Associated Press. “Of course I would have rather we won. I think it would have been better for Arizona, better for America and better for the world. But we did what we could with very limited resources and it’s been amazing.”
A recent Breitbart/Gravis poll showed McCain and Ward neck-in-neck but most other polls showed McCain leading by more than 20 points.
The race turned ugly in recent weeks with Ward suggesting in a Politico interview that McCain was getting too old to serve Arizona in the U.S. Senate.
McCain will face Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in November’s general election.