United States Senate election in Arizona, 2016

Last updated on 22 September 2017

The 2016 United States Senate election in Arizona was held on November 8, 2016, to elect a member of the United States Senate to represent the State of Arizona, concurrently with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections.

The Arizona Democratic Primary, 2016 was held on March 22, 2016, electing Democratic candidate for Senate, Ann Kirkpatrick. The Arizona Republican primary election took place on August 30, 2016.[1]

After serving in the Arizona legislature and U.S. House for a number of years, Democratic challenger Ann Kirkpatrick sought to unseat incumbent Republican Senator John McCain, who won re-election to a sixth term in office.

After hinting in September 2013 that he could retire,[2] he subsequently said that the chances he would run again were "pretty good", but his campaign had emphasized that he had not made a decision yet.[3] On April 7, 2015, McCain announced that he would run for re-election.[4] McCain faced strong primary opposition from the Tea Party, but he easily defeated challenger Kelli Ward in the August 30 primary.[5][6]

John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg
John McCain official portrait 2009.jpg
Ann Kirkpatrick.jpg
Ann Kirkpatrick.jpg
Gary swing.jpg
Gary swing.jpg
Arizona Senate Election Results by County, 2016.svg
Arizona Senate Election Results by County, 2016.svg

Republican primary

John McCain by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
McCain at a campaign rally alongside former Governor Mitt Romney, in December 2015.
Kelli Ward (28731091884).jpg
Ward at her primary election night rally on August 30, 2016.

John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, was re-elected to a fifth term with 59.3% of the vote in 2010. In September 2013 he hinted that he may retire, saying that "[President Obama's] in his last term, I'm probably in mine." When asked if that meant he wouldn't run for re-election, he said "I don't know. I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don't have to make a decision [now]. I don't want to be one of these old guys that should've shoved off."[2] He then said in October 2013 that he was "seriously thinking" about running for re-election.[7] By April 2014 he had held his first fundraiser[8] and acknowledged that "elements on the right" would like to primary him, which he said was "fine with me... you know me: a fight not joined is a fight not enjoyed... I know that I will be very well-prepared." Jennifer Duffy of The Cook Political Report noted that McCain did not fit the profile of a "complacent, long-serving incumbent", saying: "It's not an easy thing to take him on. He is going to be well-prepared, and he has a well-earned reputation for running really tough campaigns. He raises a lot of money and he puts together a good organization."[9]

In September 2014, McCain began having "serious conversations" with state Republicans, local officials and key supporters about running for re-election. He faced a primary challenge in 2010 from former Congressman J. D. Hayworth, who some felt was the weaker opponent. McCain massively outspent and easily defeated him. However, he could face a stronger challenger in 2016.[5] A survey by Public Policy Polling in March 2014 found that McCain was the most unpopular Senator in the country, with 30% of Arizonans approving of him to 54% who disapproved. His unpopularity was bipartisan, with his approvals at 35%–55% with Republicans, 29%–53% with Democrats and 25%–55% with independents.[10] An April 2014 survey by The Polling Company for Citizens United Political Victory Fund found that 64.2% of Republican primary voters favored "a new person" to 29.3% who thought that "Senator McCain deserves to be re-elected to another six-year term." It also found him trailing in match-ups with a generic primary opponent and against specific opponents (see below).[11]

Further compounding matters for McCain is his relationship with the Arizona Republican Party.[5] After his re-election in 2010, McCain adopted more orthodox conservative stances and attitudes and largely opposed actions of the Obama administration. By 2013, however, he had become a key figure in the Senate for negotiating deals on certain issues in an otherwise partisan environment. By early 2014, McCain's apostasies were enough that the Arizona Republican Party formally censured him for having what they saw as a liberal record that had been "disastrous and harmful". The action had no practical effect but showed that McCain's history of being criticized at the state level as insufficiently conservative was still ongoing.[12] Tea Party leaders have said that they are "sick to death" of McCain and will oppose him if he seeks re-election,[5] with one prominent critic of McCain saying that Arizona conservatives were preparing for a "civil war".[6] However, McCain still has a large warchest - $1.7 million as of June 2014 - and would be helped by Arizona state law, which allows independents to vote in the Republican primary.[5]

By early October 2014, McCain was telling reporters that the odds of him running for re-election were "pretty good", saying that whether or not Republicans retake control of the Senate in the 2014 elections would be a factor in his decision-making, "but it certainly wouldn't be the deciding factor."[6] In late October, it was revealed that McCain had scheduled a meeting with supporters two days after the 2014 midterm elections to "discuss my thoughts on my own re-election in 2016."[3] At that meeting, following the Republican takeover of the Senate, he said that he was "seriously considering" and "leaning towards" running for re-election and will make an announcement in early 2015.[13]

In December 2014, Politico reported that McCain and his allies were waging an "aggressive and systematic campaign" to purge the Arizona Republican Party's apparatus of Tea Party and far-right conservatives who hold "obscure, but influential, local party offices" and replace them with McCain loyalists.[14][15] The Super PAC "Arizona Grassroots Action" was created, which raised almost $300,000 and supported McCain-allied candidates with mailers and automated phone calls, bringing attention to what were previously low-profile and uncontested races.[14] Before August 26, when elections for party offices were held, almost all of the 3,925 precinct committeemen (who vote for local party chairmen, who in turn make decisions on how the party will spend state and local funds, which candidates receive endorsements or funding etc.) were opposed to McCain. After the elections, 1,531 (39%) were regarded as supportive of McCain.[14] Most notably, Timothy Schwartz, who authored the resolution which censured McCain, was ousted.[14][16] Schwartz attacked McCain for using his "prominence and money and influence" to "ramrod" his critics and former Maricopa County Republican Party Chairman A.J. LaFaro said that McCain was "vindictive" and engaging in the equivalent of "ethnic cleansing".[14]

Tea Party Congressmen Matt Salmon and David Schweikert had been widely regarded as two of the most serious potential challengers to McCain. The pair, who are close friends, agreed that if one of them decided to run against McCain, the other would not do so, to ensure that the anti-McCain vote wouldn't be split between them.[17] Schweikert has acknowledged that he polled the race in 2014 but is considered the less likely of the two to run – he has much less cash-on-hand than Salmon and has admitted that his wife is "not thrilled" at the idea of him running for the Senate.[17] Salmon has since stated that he will not challenge McCain in the primary.[18]

In early February, McCain said that he was "most likely" running for re-election[19] and Club for Growth President David McIntosh said that the organization would "watch closely" the primary race, particularly if Salmon or Schweikert ran, and would "do research and polling and determine if there's a path to victory [against McCain]."[20] Towards the end of February, Salmon and Schweikert began to distance themselves from the race,[21][22] with State Senator Kelli Ward revealing that she was considering a run.[23]

McCain officially announced on April 7, 2015, that he was running for re-election.[4]

Candidates

Declared

Withdrawn

Declined

Endorsements

John McCain
Individuals
Senators
Governors
Mayors
Organizations
Alex Meluskey (withdrew)
Individuals
Kelli Ward
Individuals
Organizations

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
John
McCain
Kelli
Ward
Clair Van
Steenwyk
Alex
Meluskey
Other Undecided
Breitbart/Gravis Marketing August 27, 2016 780 ± 3.4% 37% 33% 7% 23%
CNN/ORC August 18–23, 2016 413 ± 5.0% 55% 29% 4% 1% 3%
Data Orbital LLC August 11, 2016 500 ±4.38% 50% 29% 17%
NMB Research July 11, 2016 500 ± 4.38% 47% 22% 2% 6% 23%
Public Policy Polling May 13–15, 2016 443 ± 4.7% 39% 26% 2% 4% 3%[133] 27%
41% 41% 17%
Behavior Research Center January 6–17, 2016 398 ± 4.1% 47% 11% 1% 1% 1%[134] 39%
Behavior Research Center October 24 – November 5, 2015 577 ± 4.7% 41% 11% 2% 1% 45%
Gravis Marketing August 15–18, 2015 844 ± 3.4% 36% 45% 20%
Public Policy Polling May 1–3, 2015 300 ± 5.7% 44% 31% 25%

Results

Republican primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican John McCain 302,532 51.7%
Republican Kelli Ward 235,988 39.2%
Republican Alex Meluskey 31,159 5.5%
Republican Clair Van Steenwyk 21,476 3.6%
Republican Sean Webster (Write-In) 175 0.0%
Total votes 591,330 100.00%

Democratic primary

Candidates

Ann Kirkpatrick by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kirkpatrick at a campaign event with supporters in Phoenix, Arizona.

Declared

Withdrawn

Declined

Endorsements

Ann Kirkpatrick
U.S. Senators
U.S. Representatives
Organizations

Democratic Primary Results

Democratic Primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ann Kirkpatrick 333,586 99.85%
Democratic Alex Bello (Write-In) 508 0.15%
Total votes 334,094 100.00%

Green primary

Candidates

Declared

Results

Green Primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Green Gary Swing (Write-In) 238 100.00%
Total votes 238 100.00%

Libertarian primary

Candidates

  • Merissa Hamilton (Write-In)

Results

Libertarian Primary results[135]
Party Candidate Votes %
Libertarian Merissa Hamilton (Write-In) 1,286 100.00%
Total votes 1,286 100.00%

General election

Debates

Dates Location McCain Kirkpatrick
October 10, 2016 Phoenix, Arizona Participant Participant

Predictions

Source Ranking As of
The Cook Political Report[148] Lean R September 9, 2016
Sabato's Crystal Ball[149] Likely R November 3, 2016
Rothenberg Political Report[150] Lean R September 2, 2016
Daily Kos[151] Lean R September 16, 2016
Real Clear Politics[152] Lean R November 2, 2016

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size
Margin of
error
John
McCain (R)
Ann
Kirkpatrick (D)
Other Undecided
SurveyMonkey November 1–7, 2016 2,609 ± 4.6% 50% 45% 5%
Insights West November 4–6, 2016 392 ± 4.9% 50% 42% 9%
Data Orbital November 4–6, 2016 550 ± 4.1% 56% 44% 0%
SurveyMonkey October 31 – November 6, 2016 2,322 ± 4.6% 50% 45% 5%
SurveyMonkey October 28 – November 3, 2016 1,748 ± 4.6% 50% 45% 5%
Data Orbital November 1–2, 2016 550 ± 4.1% 52% 41% 2% 6%
SurveyMonkey October 27 – November 2, 2016 1,461 ± 4.6% 50% 44% 6%
NBC/WSJ/Marist October 30 – November 1, 2016 719 LV ± 3.7% 55% 39% 5% 2%
948 RV ± 3.2% 55% 38% 5% 2%
The Times-Picayune/Lucid October 28 – November 1, 2016 1,113 ± 3.0% 52% 40% 8%
CNN/ORC October 27 – November 1, 2016 769 LV ± 3.5% 54% 41% 1% 3%
867 RV 54% 41% 3% 1%
SurveyMonkey October 26 – November 1, 2016 1,320 ± 4.6% 50% 44% 6%
Emerson College October 29–31, 2016 700 ± 3.6% 46% 40% 6% 9%
SurveyMonkey October 25–31, 2016 1,457 ± 4.6% 49% 46% 5%
Data Orbital October 29–30, 2016 550 ± 4.1% 49% 39% 3% 10%
CBS News/YouGov October 26–28, 2016 994 ± 4.3% 43% 38% 8% 11%
Monmouth University October 21–24, 2016 401 ± 4.9% 50% 40% 5% 4%
Washington Post/SurveyMonkey October 8–16, 2016 1,028 ± 0.5% 48% 45% 6%
Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite October 10–15, 2016 660 ± 4.2% 52% 40% 8% 0%
Highground October 14, 2016 400 ± 4.9% 45% 35% 8% 9%
Emerson College October 2–4, 2016 600 ± 3.6% 52% 36% 7% 5%
Insights West September 12–14, 2016 484 ± 4.5% 53% 35% 1% 11%
NBC/WSJ/Marist September 6–8, 2016 649 ± 3.8% 57% 38% 1% 4%
Public Policy Polling August 26–28, 2016 837 ± 3.0% 43% 43% 15%
CNN/ORC August 18–23, 2016 809 LV ± 3.5% 52% 39% 2% 2%
842 RV
Public Policy Polling June 22–23, 2016 691 ± 3.7% 42% 40% 19%
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner - Democracy Corps June 11–20, 2016 300 ± 5.7% 44% 42% 14%
Behavior Research Center June 6–19, 2016 448 ± 4.7% 40% 31% 29%
Public Policy Polling June 8–9, 2016 747 ± 3.6% 41% 43% 16%
Public Policy Polling May 13–15, 2016 896 ± 3.3% 42% 36% 23%
Behavior Research Center April 4–11, 2016 564 ± 4.2% 42% 42% 16%
The Merrill Poll March 7–11, 2016 701 ± 3.7% 41% 40% 3% 16%
Behavior Research Center January 6–17, 2016 590 ± 4.1% 38% 37% 25%
Strategies 360 December 4–9, 2015 504 ± 4.4% 51% 36% 13%
Behavior Research Center October 24 – November 5, 2015 577 ± 3.8% 37% 31% 32%
Gravis Marketing August 13–16, 2015 1,433 ± 2.6% 48% 35% 17%
Public Policy Polling May 1–3, 2015 600 ± 4.0% 42% 36% 23%

Results

United States Senate election in Arizona, 2016 [153]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican John McCain (Incumbent) 1,359,267 53.74% -5.33%
Democratic Ann Kirkpatrick 1,031,245 40.77% +5.99%
Green Gary Swing 138,634 5.48% +4.03%
Plurality 328,022 12.97%
Total votes 2,529,146 100.00%
Turnout 3,588,466 74.17% ?
Republican hold Swing

References

  1. ^ "Elections Calendar & Upcoming Events". AZSOS.gov. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
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  7. ^ Blake, Aaron (October 22, 2013). "McCain considering seeking reelection in 2016". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved October 22, 2013.
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  69. ^ "Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  70. ^ "Carefree Mayor Les Peterson Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  71. ^ "Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  72. ^ "Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  73. ^ "Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  74. ^ "Dewey-Humboldt Mayor Terry Nolan Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  75. ^ "Dewey-Humboldt Vice Mayor Douglas Treadway Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  76. ^ "Duncan Mayor Billy Waters Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  77. ^ "El Mirage Mayor Lana Mook Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  78. ^ "Fredonia Mayor Alvy Johnson Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  79. ^ "Gilbert Mayor John Lewis Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  80. ^ "Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  81. ^ "Goodyear Vice Mayor Sheri Lauritano Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  82. ^ "Holbrook Mayor Bobby Tyler Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  83. ^ "Huachuca Mayor Ken Taylor Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  84. ^ "Kingman Mayor Richard Anderson Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  85. ^ "Litchfield Park Mayor Thomas Schoaf Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  86. ^ "Marana Mayor Ed Honea Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  87. ^ "Mesa Mayor John Giles Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  88. ^ "Nogales Mayor John Doyle Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  89. ^ "Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  90. ^ "Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  91. ^ "Payson Mayor Kenny Evans Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  92. ^ "Payson Former Mayor Barbara Brewer Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  93. ^ "Peoria Former Cathy Carlat Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  94. ^ "Pinetop-Lakeside Mayor Gregory Smith Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  95. ^ "Pinetop-Lakeside Former Mayor Roger Williams Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  96. ^ "Prescott Mayor Harry Oberg Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  97. ^ "Prescott Former Mayor Martin Kuykendall Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  98. ^ "Prescott Valley Mayor Harvy Skoog Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  99. ^ "Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  100. ^ "Safford Mayor Chris Gibbs Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  101. ^ "San Luis Mayor Jerry Sanchez Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  102. ^ "Show Low Mayor Daryl Seymore Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  103. ^ "Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  104. ^ "Sierra Vista Former Mayor Bob Strain Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  105. ^ "Snowflake Mayor Tom Poscharsky Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  106. ^ "Tempe Former Vice Mayor Onnie Shekerjian Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  107. ^ "Thatcher Mayor Bob Rivera Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  108. ^ "Tusayan Former Mayor Greg Bryan Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  109. ^ "Tusayan Mayor Graig Sanderson Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  110. ^ "Wellton Mayor Cecilia McCollough Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  111. ^ "Willcox Mayor Robert Irvin Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  112. ^ "Williams Mayor John Moore Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  113. ^ "Winslow Mayor Robin Boyd Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  114. ^ "Youngtown Mayor Michael LeVault Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
  115. ^ "Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls Endorses John McCain for U.S. Senate".
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  133. ^ Scott McBean
  134. ^ David Pizer
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