Support for presidential nominee becomes topic of Senate race in AZ

Support for presidential nominee becomes topic of Senate race in AZ

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The 2016 US Senate race in Arizona pits incumbent Republican John McCain against Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

McCain is seeking his sixth term. Kirkpatrick, who represents Congressional District 1, is a three-term member of the House of Representatives.

The race has been highlighted not so much by issues but more about McCain's replies when questioned about the top of the ticket, Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Early in the race, McCain told KOLD News 13 on more than one occasion that "he would support the party's nominee."

He held fast to that until recently when he said Trump's comments about women have caused "me to part company."

But Kirkpatrick pointed out during an Oct. 10 debate that he endorsed Trump "sixty times."

But to ask McCain about that charge has become impossible because he has refused numerous KOLD News 13 requests for an on-camera interview in recent weeks.

Kirkpatrick said it's an issue which won't go away on the campaign trail.

"The single most common thing I hear, people cannot believe John McCain did not stand up to Trump when Trump insulted him."

Trump said that McCain was not a war hero because he was captured during the Vietnam War and spent six years as a prisoner of war.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, during a visit to Sargent Controls in Marana, McCain's staff again denied our request for an on-camera interview.

But there are other issues which divide the pair.

The most obvious is the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, which McCain says he spent months trying to defeat but which passed without any Republican support.

Kirkpatrick said, "I voted for it. I always said it's not perfect and needs to be fixed."

McCain is more harsh.

"Obamacare is a disaster," he said. "It was a huge mistake."

But Kirkpatrick feels because it has provided health care for millions of Americans who did not have it before that "it's been the law for six years and we should be working together in a bipartisan way to make it better."

McCain feels is needs to be repealed and replaced.

There are some areas of agreement for the pair, such as saving the A-10 mission and preserving Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The base is a $1.5 billion economic engine for Tucson.

Both are eager to find ways to end the lack of progress in Washington.

"We've got to do something about the gridlock," Kirkpatrick said. "We've got to get Washington working again."

McCain agrees both sides need to find ways to work together if for no other reason than to protect America's most successful entitlement program.

"No one party, no one individual is going to save Social Security," he said. "We're going to have to sit down together and have a conversation and decide what's best for America."

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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