Despite what Breitbart News would have you believe, Sen. John McCain easily squashed GOP challenger Kelli Ward, a former state lawmaker from Lake Havasu who hoped that her Tea Party bona fides and can-do spirit would help her upset the five-term veteran.
McCain was crushing Ward, 52 percent to 38 percent.
McCain's win sets the stage for what even he calls the toughest challenge of his long career: Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, whose sprawling congressional district has allowed her to build up both decent statewide name ID and a legit fundraising base.
In his victory speech, McCain told the crowd: "Tonight, you have given me a chance to continue serving America. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now, let’s go win one more time."
Kirkpatrick stuck with one of the central messages of her campaign—"John McCain has changed"—in her prepared statement after the polls closed.
“I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to represent my lifelong home of Arizona, and I will never waver in the fight to keep our communities safe, stand up for our veterans, protect Social Security and Medicare, and create good-paying jobs for hardworking families," Kirkpatrick said. "John McCain has changed after 33 years in Washington and no longer puts Arizonans above his own self-interest and his political career. There are enormous stakes in this election, and I look forward to a spirited campaign that offers voters a clear choice for the future of our state and who will best represent them in the U.S. Senate.”
McCain's full victory speech:
Thank you. 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.
Thank you to the interns who sacrificed their evenings and weekends to make our campaign stronger. Thank you to the many coalitions – Latinos, Iranians, Asian Americans, and countless others – who worked tirelessly to advocate for me. To our veterans, your support is more meaningful than you know. Thank you, all of you, for everything.
And thank you to my wife Cindy and our children. Campaigns can be as hard on the candidates’ families as they are on the candidates. We’ve been through a few of them together. This one has a ways to go yet, and it’s not going to get any easier. But I could never have gotten this far without your patience, love and support. And I can’t go any farther without it.
Finally, thank you to every Arizonan who voted in the primary, those who supported me and those who supported one of my opponents.
To the former, your support is a privilege I promise to work as hard as I can to deserve.
"To the latter, I promise to work as hard as I can for you, too, and to fight for policies and principles that I believe are essential to building a better future for Arizona - and America - and making the world safer for our shared values.
There is a lot at stake in this election, no matter who wins the presidency.
A stronger economy that offers the dignity of honest work and a fair chance to prosper to all Americans, no matter where they started in life, their backgrounds, or their beliefs; an economy that creates jobs that have a future, and invents more, produces more and grows more than all other nations on earth.
A safer world where we face old adversaries with strength and wisdom, and new threats with courage and confidence; a world where those who slaughter the innocent in the name of the religion they pervert are defeated by the power and values of the greatest force for good on earth.
A nation that is secure from external and internal threats, and controls its borders with smart and safe immigration policies that enforce our laws and reflect our values.
A healthcare system that delivers what Obamacare hasn’t and won’t — affordable, available, reliable health care insurance that manages risks without abandoning entire communities like what has happened in Pinal County.
And veterans’ healthcare that keeps our promises to the men and women who sacrificed everything to keep their promises to us.
These are some of the biggest, though not the only issues at stake in this election. To make real progress on any of them, Republicans must be willing to put forward smart, common sense, effective policies. And we must be able to resist from a position of strength ideas coming from the next White House, whoever occupies it, that would take the country in the wrong track.
It’s imperative Republicans maintain our majorities in Congress. It’s important to America’s future that we have a say over the next President’s appointments to the Supreme Court.
It’s important that we offer alternatives to policies that double down on the mistakes of past administrations, that reinforce failure or create new sets of problems.
Most of all, it’s important that Republicans can fight for the resources our military needs to allow the men and women of our armed forces to continue doing what they do best, keeping us safe from all enemies, defending our interests wherever they are threatened, and exemplifying the values we believe all humanity is entitled to.
And it’s just as important that our national security policies are grounded in hard learned lessons but informed by recent experiences, not mired in failed doctrines or in the easy comfort of wishful thinking as has been the case in recent years.
I have served our country all my life, in war and peace, in uniform and in office. I’ve acquired a lot of experience along the way and a little wisdom. I’ve made my share of mistakes, and I think I’ve done some good.
But believe me, I’ve never made the mistake of not appreciating the extraordinary privilege I’ve been given by you, the people of Arizona. You have let me live a life in service to the great and good nation we call home, and to help it make history.
And tonight, you have given me a chance to continue serving America. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Now, let’s go win one more time.