Elected: 1986, term expires 2016, 5th term.
Born: August 29, 1936, Panama Canal Zone
Education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.S. 1958, Natl. War Col., 1973-74
Professional Career: Dir., Navy Senate Liaison Ofc., 1977–81.
Family: married (Cindy) , 7 children
John McCain, Arizona’s senior senator, was once the Democrats’ ideal Republican – fiercely independent and unafraid to cross the aisle to work on issues such as campaign finance and immigration. Since losing to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential race, however, McCain has rebranded himself as the GOP’s chief critic of Obama’s national security policies, using his celebrity status to espouse a hawkish approach in the Middle East and elsewhere.
McCain was born in the Canal Zone, the son and grandson of Navy admirals. (His married-to-the-military mother, Roberta McCain, at age 96, was one of his hardest-working campaign supporters; she danced at the podium at the Republican National Convention celebrating his nomination.) McCain graduated from the Naval Academy, fifth from the bottom of his class academically but high in demerits, and trained to be a fighter pilot. He volunteered for service in Vietnam, and flew ground-attack aircraft from carriers at sea. In July 1967, he was severely injured in a flight-deck explosion on the carrier USS Forrestal. McCain could have returned home but refused. He continued to fly bombing runs over North Vietnam. That October, on his 23rd bombing mission, his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile, and McCain ejected from the plane, breaking both of his arms and a leg in a fall into Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi. After pulling him from the water, his North Vietnamese “rescuers” crushed one of his shoulders with a rifle butt, bayoneted him, then refused him medical treatment during his stay at a prison dubbed the Hanoi Hilton by U.S. soldiers.
He spent the next five and a half years in prisoner-of-war camps, most of it in suffering as a result of repeated torture by his Communist captors. He spent two of those years in solitary confinement. That chapter of McCain’s life is recounted in Robert Timberg’s The Nightingale’s Song and in McCain’s 1999 best-seller Faith of My Fathers. When he was offered release because of his father’s rank, he refused to be let out ahead of those who had been imprisoned longer, and he returned to the United States in March 1973 with other POWs.
McCain recovered in military hospitals, and despite intensive physical therapy, suffered permanent injuries, including restricted movement of his arms. On top of the many medals and commendations he received, his heroism was rewarded with a final assignment in a high-profile, noncombat role as the Navy’s liaison to the Senate in 1977. McCain says the job launched his career in politics. He became close to several senators, including Republicans John Tower of Texas and William Cohen of Maine and Democrat Gary Hart of Colorado. On the personal front, McCain’s first marriage failed. In 1980, he remarried, to Cindy Lou Hensley, the wealthy daughter of a beer distributor from Phoenix. Two years later, he ran for an open House seat in Arizona. Attacked as an outsider, he responded, “The longest place I ever lived in was Hanoi.” He won a four-way primary, 32%-26%, and then the general election in November. In 1986, he easily defeated former Arizona state legislator Democrat Richard Kimball to win the Senate seat of conservative icon Barry Goldwater, who was retiring.
McCain became chairman of the Armed Services Committee in 2015, a perch from which he said he hoped to shape his legacy as someone who played "a significant role in defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America." He told The Associated Press in January 2015, "You will see, probably, the busiest Senate Armed Services Committee that you've ever seen." He promised to address how the Pentagon is structured as a followup to the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, which his role model Goldwater cosponsored. But above all else, he pushed aggressively for an expanded U.S. military presence in Iraq and Syria. He had caused a stir in 2013 when he ventured into the latter country to meet with opposition leaders whom he hoped could topple Bashar al-Assad; 12 of the 15 Syrian commanders with whom he met subsequently died. “We are probably in the most serious period of turmoil in our lifetime,” he told The Washington Post.
He flashed his infamous temper at a group of protestors who interrupted the testimony of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "Get out of here, you lowlife scum!" he barked in an exchange that immediately went viral. Bringing in luminaries such as Kissinger was part of McCain's mission to try to educate his more-junior colleagues about America's historic role in the world. He also made clear he would hold more overseas fact-finding trips. "I think John's legacy is that he never quits," Vice President Joe Biden, a longtime Senate colleague, told the AP.
The earlier Republican gains in the 2010 elections appeared to whet McCain’s inclinations toward partisanship, leaving his onetime Democratic allies disappointed. “I just hope he goes back to his roots,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told The New York Times in July 2012. Opposing a Democratic cybersecurity bill, McCain introduced competing legislation arguing that standards for electrical grids and other infrastructure should be left up to the private sector. On international issues, he called for airstrikes on Syrian forces attempting to put down a popular rebellion, and he blasted the Obama administration’s approach as “a feckless foreign policy that abandons American leadership.” He also criticized the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and called for an active U.S. role in brokering Middle East peace in the wake of Israel’s fight with Hamas in Gaza in fall 2012.
When Obama won reelection in 2012 and considered nominating United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice as secretary of State, McCain and his close ally Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina emerged as Rice’s most full-throated critics. McCain called her “unqualified,” citing her public statements about the September terrorist attack in Benghazi and prompting an angry Obama to retort, “If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me.” The senators, however, won the battle when Rice withdrew her name in December. The two senators next began raising concerns about the fitness of their former Senate colleague, Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel, to become Defense secretary, questioning his loyalty to Israel and willingness to intervene militarily overseas. They were unable to stop Hagel from being confirmed. Despite his desire to remain Armed Services’ ranking Republican, McCain conceded to term limits and yielded in January 2013 to Oklahoma’s James Inhofe. His ubiquitous presence on television talk shows, however, indicated his influence would remain strong.
McCain did show signs of his old willingness to stand up to his party when he publicly tore into a group of conservative House Republicans in July 2012 for targeting Huma Abedin in their quest to identify allies of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama administration. Abedin, a Muslim, was a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and also the wife of former New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner. Though he endorsed Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential bid against Obama, several political commentators judged his advocacy on the campaign trail to be lukewarm. McCain also questioned whether a super PAC backing Romney may have provided a conduit for foreign money to enter the presidential race. And McCain rebuked a proposal from Republican strategists – which was discussed but never unveiled -- to launch a racially-tinged attack on Obama for his ties to the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an issue he had declined to raise four years earlier despite pleas from fellow Republicans. (McCain’s outspoken daughter, Meghan, an MSNBC commentator and blogger, drew attention during the campaign for squabbling with Romney’s rival, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.)
For all of the attention he now commands, McCain kept a low profile during his early years in Congress. He was a strong supporter of the Reagan administration and surprised some by opposing the president’s dispatch of troops to Lebanon in 1982, arguing they were too few to be effective and too vulnerable to attack. Later, he backed President George H.W. Bush’s war in the Persian Gulf in 1990 and his decision not to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. In the 1990s, he worked with Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat and also a decorated Vietnam veteran, to end the trade embargo on Vietnam, and pressed for establishing diplomatic relations. He supported air strikes against Serbia in 1999 but criticized the Clinton administration for ruling out ground troops in Bosnia and for not using “all necessary force” against the Serbs.
McCain strongly supported President George W. Bush in the war on terrorism after September 11 and in his later decision to go to war with Iraq. McCain repeatedly pushed for more ground troops in Afghanistan and signed a letter urging that Iraq be the next target. He called for a special commission to investigate intelligence failures before the terrorist attacks. The final version of the law provided, at the insistence of relatives of 9/11 casualties, that McCain and Richard Shelby of Alabama get a veto over appointees to the commission. When Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003, McCain continually pushed for a larger army and more troops to get the job done. He clashed frequently with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. McCain finally concluded that the administration’s handling of the war “will go down as one of the worst” mistakes in U.S. military history.
McCain built a reputation in Congress as someone who refused to engage in business as usual, making him a popular figure outside of Washington. But at one time, engaging in business as usual nearly ended his career. In the mid-1980s, McCain was one of the Keating Five senators investigated for allegedly pressuring regulators on behalf of Charles Keating’s Arizona savings and loan. Ultimately, he was cited for exercising bad judgment for attempting to influence regulators overseeing Keating’s thrift. Vindicated by his reelection in 1992, McCain reinvented himself as a reformer.
When Republicans won control of Congress two years later, McCain sought out Democrat Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, who had a bill to clamp down on campaign finance abuses. For the next several years, the McCain-Feingold bills went through several transformations. Key features included prohibitions on soft money—the large, unregulated contributions to political parties that were ripe for abuse—and limits on advertising by independent organizations within 60 days of an election. The changes were fiercely opposed as an infringement on free speech and as a threat to the Republican Party by the powerful Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who used threats of filibusters to prevent the bill from coming to a vote. McCain threatened to tie up the Senate in early 2001 unless Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., set aside time for debate on the issue. In March 2001, after two weeks of civilized but spirited debate, during which McCain and Feingold fended off several poison-pill amendments, the legislation passed April 2 on a 59-41 vote. The House passed its version in February 2002, and the bill became law.
For years, it withstood multiple court challenges. But then in January 2010, the Supreme Court, reversing earlier precedents, struck down a key reform when it ruled in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission that curbs on political spending by corporations are an unconstitutional infringement on free speech. The 2002 law had banned the broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission of election messages paid for by corporations or labor unions from their general funds in the 30 days before a presidential primary and in the 60 days before the general elections. “I think there will be scandals associated with the worst decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century,” McCain said in June 2012. He cited the justices’ inability to understand the realities of campaigning and added, “I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff.” But he refused to join Democrats in supporting the DISCLOSE Act aimed at correcting Citizens United, calling it “closer to a clever attempt at political gamesmanship than actual reform.”
Another of his legislative crusades was a war on earmarks, the practice among lawmakers of slipping high-dollar projects into bills to benefit a particular congressional district or state. Each year, McCain highlighted the pork-barrel spending he found in the appropriations bills, to the growing irritation of his colleagues in both parties, who were accustomed to using earmarks to curry favor with voters back home. But eventually McCain’s lonely campaign was joined by conservatives in the House, and both chambers subsequently adopted an earmark ban.
McCain’s generally conservative voting record has as many quirks as the man himself. He supported funding of embryonic stem cell research, in opposition to most other Republicans. With liberal Democrat Kerry, he proposed fuel efficiency standards of 36 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2015. And with independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, he co-authored a bill to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. McCain opposed the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as “antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans” to respect states’ rights to govern themselves.
His biggest act of ideological heresy came on the issue of immigration. “The truth is, border enforcement alone does not work,” McCain said, as most conservatives were pursuing tougher enforcement strategies. He opposed Arizona’s Proposition 200, which would cut off public benefits to illegal immigrants, arguing that it would“delay, possibly derail, the search for a solution.” In 2005, McCain and liberal Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts sponsored an immigration bill that gave illegal immigrants a path to legalization, allowing them to obtain two three-year visas and then “get in the back of the line” of legal immigrants. “Some Americans believe we must find all these millions, round them up, and send them back to the countries they came from. I don’t know how you do that. And I don’t know why you would want to,” McCain said. But a comprehensive bill failed in 2006 and again in 2007.
When immigration resurfaced as a front-burner issue after the 2012 elections, he joined a bipartisan group that crafted a proposal. That required re-establishing a good working relationship with New York Sen. Charles Schumer, one of the few Democrats whose ubiquitous media presence rivals that of McCain's. Schumer told The New Yorker that McCain came to him after they worked on a deal to protect the Senate's filibuster rules. "He said, ‘You know? You’re a much different person than I thought you were,’” Schumer recalled.
The so-called "Gang of Eight" got a comprehensive bill that combined a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants with extremely tough border-security measures through the Senate in 2013, but the Republican-controlled House refused to take up that or any other broad-ranging measure. When a disgusted Obama issued an executive order on immigration in November 2014, McCain complained it was "a cynical action that means that the president isn't that interested in comprehensive reform. He's only interested in placating his base."
McCain’s quest for the presidency began with the 2000 election. In 1999, he decided to skip the caucuses in dovish and ethanol-loving Iowa (McCain had long denounced ethanol subsidies as pork barrel spending) to concentrate on the primary in New Hampshire, where he traveled around in his “Straight Talk Express” bus. At first, only a few reporters traveled with him and crowds were sparse. But McCain struck a chord. To increasingly larger and more enthusiastic crowds, he told his personal story in self-deprecating terms, and pledged, “I will never tell you a lie.” He talked about defense and foreign-policy issues—the only candidate to spend much time doing so—and invariably called for campaign finance regulation. McCain did not have much support from his colleagues, and The Arizona Republic wrote editorials warning of McCain’s “volcanic” temper. But the strength of feeling among his ever-larger crowds was real, and on Feb. 1, McCain beat George W. Bush by an impressive 49%-30%. Suddenly he became, if not the front-runner, at least the front-runner’s most serious opponent.
From there, the “Straight Talk Express” had mixed success. It went to South Carolina, where both the Republican establishment and Christian conservatives lined up with Bush. The campaigning got negative, but what hurt even more was McCain’s failure to win over self-identified Republicans. His emphasis on campaign finance regulation and his criticisms of Bush’s tax cuts for giving too much to the rich helped with independents but sounded like enemy talk to Republicans. On Feb. 18, Bush won 53%-42% in South Carolina, in what turned out to be a decisive victory. The race continued, with McCain running way ahead of Bush among independents, but way behind among Republicans in Southern states. McCain’s most striking win was in Michigan that February, where he prevailed 50%-43%, among an atypical electorate: Seventeen percent of Republican primary voters were self-identified Democrats, 35% were independents, and only a minority were Republicans. On Super Tuesday, March 7, McCain won in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont. But he lost in New York, Ohio, and California. He suspended his campaign in March and two months later grudgingly endorsed Bush.
Four years later, as Bush headed into his 2004 reelection campaign, McCain was a major national figure, with high positive ratings among Republicans and very low negatives among Democrats. Always enchanted with him, the press gave McCain plenteous coverage. As Kerry, his fellow Vietnam veteran, clinched the Democratic nomination in March 2004, there was speculation that he would ask McCain to be his vice presidential nominee. After some days of speculation, McCain firmly rejected the idea. “I am a pro-life, deficit-hawk, free-trade Republican,” he said. Subsequently, the Bush and McCain camps made peace. But he also maintained his relationship with fellow vet Kerry. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads appeared against Kerry, McCain called them “dishonorable” and said they should be dropped from the air.
As the 2008 presidential contest neared, McCain voiced more frequently and fervently his long-standing opposition to abortion rights. Even so, many conservatives were not enthusiastic about McCain, given his stands on campaign finance, immigration, and carbon dioxide emissions. Their skepticism doomed McCain’s early strategy in 2007, which was to campaign as the next-in-line Republican for the presidential nomination. He fell behind New York’s Rudolph Giuliani in the polls, and he fell far short of his fundraising goals, raising just $13.6 million in the first quarter of 2007, behind Giuliani and Massachusetts’ Romney. By late June, the McCain campaign was broke. Its opulent headquarters closed, and the campaign’s top managers were fired, replaced with McCain stalwart Rick Davis and Bush-Cheney veteran Steve Schmidt. Backed into a corner, McCain adopted the campaign strategy that some of the best consultants rely on: Campaign on what you believe in. And, he had a backup strategy that even the worst consultants are ashamed to advance: Wait for all the other candidates’ strategies to fail.
They both worked. After a spring trip to Iraq, McCain commented in July 2007 that he was convinced the troop surge strategy was working and praised the outcome despite near-universal skepticism in the press. In September, he launched his “No Surrender” tour. In the GOP primary debates, McCain was treated respectfully and uncritically by his opponents, while he was quick to jab at any who expressed skepticism about the surge. Meanwhile, his opponents’ strategies started to fail. Romney’s poll numbers were stalled at about 30%. Tennessee’s Fred Thompson took months to announce he was running and then seemed strangely unenergetic. Judging that the field was stacked against him in early contests, New York’s Giuliani decided to wait until the Florida primary. Only Mike Huckabee, the former minister and Arkansas governor, exceeded expectations, running second in the Iowa straw poll in August 2007 and first, ahead of the free-spending Romney, in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3, 2008. As in 2000, McCain had written off dovish Iowa. He focused on New Hampshire, campaigning hard there. On Jan. 8, he beat Romney, who owned a vacation home in New Hampshire, 37%-32%. “Mac is back,” chanted the crowd on Election Night.
Next up was Michigan, where Romney had grown up and where his father was governor 40 years before. Romney promised to bring back jobs in the state’s important automobile industry, while McCain stated bluntly that many jobs would never return. With fewer crossovers than in 2000, Michigan gave Romney 39% and McCain 30%. From Michigan, it was on to South Carolina, where McCain had lost decisively in 2000. This was the one real four-way Republican contest in 2008. McCain, with 33%, came out ahead of Huckabee, with 30%. Thompson undoubtedly took votes away from fellow Southerner Huckabee and got 16%. Romney was fourth with 15%.
In critical and always baffling Florida on Jan. 29, GOP Gov. Charlie Crist delivered a surprise endorsement of McCain. The result was a 36%-31% victory for McCain over Romney. A few days later on Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, McCain effectively sewed up the nomination, winning absolute majorities (his first) in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and winning a 1% victory over Huckabee in Missouri. He racked up victories in states as diverse as California, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Delaware. Two days later, Romney withdrew. Huckabee stayed in the race for another month. By late spring, McCain had consolidated the Republican base, but it was smaller than in 2004, and not sufficiently motivated to come anywhere close to matching the fundraising feats of Democrat Barack Obama. Working against McCain were Bush’s low job rating, an increasing Democratic advantage in party identification, doubts about the course of the economy, the continuing unpopularity of the war in Iraq, and the enthusiasm among young and black voters for Obama. Another factor was McCain’s own campaign finance law. Obama eschewed federal funding and was able to massively outspend McCain, who had little choice but to take public financing.
Given these circumstances, it’s perhaps surprising that McCain made a contest of it at all and that he was actually leading during part of the fall campaign. He sought to portray himself, more than Obama, as an agent of change. After Obama chose 36-year Senate veteran Joe Biden of Delaware as his running mate, McCain chose the two-year governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. Her initial appearance in Ohio and her speech before the Republican National Convention sparked great enthusiasm among the Republican base, and the campaign was finally able to muster volunteer and fundraising efforts competitive with Obama’s. For about two weeks, the McCain-Palin ticket actually led Obama-Biden by narrow margins. But it became apparent that Palin was unprepared for the rigors of a national campaign. News articles depicted her as lacking knowledge about a range of issues, and her rambling interviews and verbal gaffes provided fodder for Saturday Night Live and late-night comics. She also was mercurial in temperament, clashing with McCain’s aides and eventually overshadowing the senator’s own campaign.
Then, on Sept. 15, Lehman Brothers went into bankruptcy, and a financial crisis ensued. The same day, McCain said, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Four days later, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke called for a $700 billion rescue of the financial markets. Obama’s campaign scoffed at McCain’s “strong” comment, surged in the polls, and never relinquished the lead after that. On Sept. 24, McCain announced he was suspending his campaign, pulling his television ads, and returning to the Capitol to work on the financial industry bill. He said he might not appear at the first presidential debate scheduled two days later. Obama coolly observed that a president has to tend to more than one thing at a time, and the debate went off. When the House initially rejected the financial rescue on Sept. 29, McCain was blamed for not bringing along a sufficient number of House Republicans.
In the rhetoric war, McCain attacked Obama sharply on taxes, energy, and other issues. But he also subtly raised questions about Obama’s character, asking voters whether they knew the “real Barack Obama” and could trust him. When fringe activists started loudly protesting that Obama might be a socialist or a terrorist and perhaps was not even an American citizen, McCain modulated his comments, saying on Oct. 10, “I want to be president of the United States and obviously I do not want Senator Obama to be, but I have to tell you, I have to tell you he is a decent person, and a person that you do not have to be scared of as president of the United States.” He criticized Obama for saying he wanted to “spread the wealth around,” but when asked in a debate about the economy, McCain fell back on his determination to stop spending on earmarks, which could hardly be viewed as a comprehensive economic agenda.
In the final days of the campaign, Obama avoided mistakes. He won 53%-46%, the best Democratic percentage since 1964. Obama got 95% support from African-American voters, and he won 66%-32% among voters under age 30. Among those older than 30, McCain lost by only 50%-49%. On Election Night, McCain made a gracious concession speech, saying, “Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country.”
After the election, McCain continued to weigh in on major issues, but he took a more conservative line than he had in earlier years. He called for a payroll tax cut in January 2009 and opposed the Democrats’ $787 billion economic stimulus bill. In April 2009, despite his support of past legislation to reduce carbon emissions, he called the Democrats’ cap-and-trade bill irresponsible and said the plan to auction all emissions credits was “bad economic policy that would cost businesses billions of dollars and allow for little to no transition into a low carbon system.”
McCain remained heavily involved in defense issues. He worked with Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., to support Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ decision in 2009 to end production of the F-22 fighter. And, after his many criticisms of Bush’s handling of the Iraq war, he gave the former president credit for ending it well. “Though most Democrats still cannot bear to admit it, the war in Iraq is ending successfully because the surge worked,” he told The Wall Street Journal. McCain supported Obama’s decisions to send more troops to Afghanistan in March and December 2009 but criticized the president’s call for troop reductions starting by July 2011. He also spoke out strongly against repeal of the ban on openly gay military personnel.
McCain’s positive image with the public had been built on his tendency toward political independence, and that image acquired chinks in 2010. He disappointed many of his longtime supporters when, faced with a primary challenge in his reelection, McCain backed away from some of his earlier stances and told Newsweek in April 2010, “I never considered myself a maverick.” One of his most telling changes of heart was on immigration. McCain retreated from his earlier out-front support for a path to citizenship and other elements of a bipartisan approach to illegal immigration, saying bluntly that voters had spoken and that the border must be protected first, before any comprehensive bill would be passed. Most Republican primary voters in Arizona and practically all talk radio hosts there strongly opposed legalization as a form of amnesty, and McCain no doubt was angling to eliminate an easy line of attack for his primary opponent, conservative talk radio host J.D. Hayworth, a former House member. In March 2009, McCain snipped to a Hispanic group, “You people made your choice during the election,” a reference to exit polls that showed he lost Latinos to Obama 67%-31%. He also supported Arizona’s controversial new law allowing police to look into the immigration status of people stopped for other reasons.
Known for a bombastic streak during his House years, Hayworth chortled over McCain’s “double talk express” and dubbed him “weenie of the week.” But Hayworth had his own problems. Before losing his House seat—including usually Republican Scottsdale—to Democrat Harry Mitchell in 2006, he had received contributions from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. With his long Senate career on the line, McCain campaigned nonstop and beat Hayworth in the August primary 56%-32%, a solid victory but not an overwhelming one. A third candidate who claimed tea party affiliation got 12%. In the general election campaign, Democratic nominee Rodney Glassman, the former vice mayor of Tucson, could attract little funding in a year many other Democratic Senate candidates were struggling, and he never became well-known in the Phoenix market. McCain won by 59%-35%.
In January 2015, McCain said he was inclined to run for a sixth term in 2016, when he would be 80. "I still think I have a lot to do," he told the AP. However, he subsequently backed off a bit, saying only he was "leaning heavily toward running." His comments came as David McIntosh, leader of the influential anti-tax group Club for Growth, said it was "carefully" assessing the Arizona race.
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