The race was McCain’s most competitive run for Senate to date (his sixth), or at least it appeared that way early in the year when it was still unclear how controversial Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would affect down-ballot races in states like Arizona.
McCain led Kirkpatrick 53 percent to 42 percent with 23 percent of precincts reporting.
Coming into Election Day, the race was rated Republican Favored by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call.
In 2014, neither of Arizona’s senators were in cycle. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona’s junior senator, was elected in 2012, beating Democrat Richard Carmona 49 percent to 46 percent. McCain had won all five of his prior Senate elections with no less than 56 percent of the vote.
McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has served in the Senate since 1987. The chairman of the Armed Services Committee is a classic defense hawk in that he believes the government should spend more on the military and less on other programs.
Representing a state with a large Hispanic population, McCain has been an advocate for overhauling the immigration system and was a member of the “Gang of 8” senators that drafted overhaul legislation that included a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.