Michael Fusco, Copy Editor
On Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, just twelve hours before polls opened on Election Day, Senator John McCain hosted a campaign rally on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse with several distinguished guests. Winning Yavapai County was crucial for the Republican senator and many other candidates present that night. The results from the next day’s election put McCain comfortably ahead of his Democratic opponent, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, winning him a sixth term in the U.S. Senate.
Prescott Mayor Harry Oberg took the stage at 6:00 p.m. to open the rally and welcomed a small but enthusiastic audience of slightly more than one hundred. City Councilwoman Billie Orr then led the group in prayer. About fifteen minutes into the program, Sen. McCain arrived and took the stage with his guests.
Andy Tobin, former Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, spoke first and introduced the many distinguished elected officials, including Sen. McCain, and other candidates running for office. Tobin himself was running for and was successfully elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Tobin encouraged the audience to vote for Republicans up and down the ballot on Election Day.
Prescott’s own congressman, Paul Gosar, who would win re-election the next day, spoke about voting for candidates whose chief priority was to protect the Constitution. Gosar said, “If you care about the Constitution you’ll vote for Trump, you’ll vote for McCain, and you’ll vote for me… Let’s get out and vote!”
Former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, who served alongside McCain for 18 years, spoke about his colleague’s experience, qualifications, and character and Arizona voters’ “special obligation” to re-elect McCain and “send him back to Washington, D.C.” During his years in the Senate, Kyl worked with McCain on issues ranging from water rights to foreign policy. Senator Jeff Flake then emphasized the importance of McCain’s leadership in Arizona and the country.
Governor Doug Ducey spoke shortly in support for Republican candidates on the whole: “We have great candidates at the federal, state, and local levels.” He also reverberated Kyl and Flake’s message that McCain brings strong leadership. Gov. Ducey then introduced Cindy McCain, who spoke about her husband’s passion to “protect your sons and daughters” at home and abroad.
Finally, Senator McCain addressed his eager audience. He began by reminding everyone about the historical location of the event, where Barry Goldwater, McCain’s predecessor, announced and ended his 1964 presidential bid and where he gave his concession speech to President Barack Obama in 2008.
“We live in a dangerous time,” McCain said. “The world is on fire.” With terrorism abroad spreading unabated and inspiring some, via radicalization through the Internet, to conduct attacks within the United States, McCain said he will continue to dedicate himself to achieving security. He also focused on many state issues, including natural resources and fighting wildfires. McCain ended his speech by thanking all the veterans in the audience and nationwide.
Other distinguished guests on stage with McCain included Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Noel Campbell of the Arizona House of Representatives, Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog, and the leadership of the Yavapai County Republican Party.