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McCain challenge, sheriff’s latest bid top Arizona primary

A cyclist rides past a sign directing voters to a primary election voting station early Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in Phoenix. (Matt York / Associated Press)
A cyclist rides past a sign directing voters to a primary election voting station early Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, in Phoenix. (Matt York / Associated Press)
Associated Press

PHOENIX – U.S. Sen. John McCain beat back a primary challenge Tuesday from a Republican tea party activist to win the right to seek a sixth Senate term in November, clearing an important hurdle in a race that was inundated with questions about GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee easily defeated former state Sen. Kelli Ward and two other Republicans on the ballot.

He faces a tough Democratic challenge in the November general election from U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. She advanced Tuesday after facing only a write-in opponent in the primary.

McCain, who turned 80 on Monday, had been campaigning hard, rallying campaign workers and making get-out-the-vote stops in keeping his vow not to take the primary for granted.

“I’m humbled by and grateful for our success tonight and for the honor to be the Arizona Republican Party’s nominee for election to the United States Senate,” McCain said in prepared remarks.

Ward had been mainly ignored by McCain, but she got national attention by saying in recent interviews that McCain would be unable to complete another six-year term because of his age.

Also Tuesday, the sheriff for metropolitan Phoenix trounced three rivals to win his Republican primary in what could be the toughest campaign in his 24 years in office as he faces a storm of legal troubles stemming from his immigration patrols.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio easily beat former Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban and two lesser-known Republicans. Arpaio has raised a staggering amount of money for a local sheriff’s race – $11.3 million and counting, most from people living in other states.

The 84-year-old lawman moves on to face the race’s sole Democrat, retired Phoenix police Officer Paul Penzone, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Arpaio is seeking a seventh term as he experiences the worst legal troubles in his career.

Over the past four years, a federal judge has ruled that Arpaio’s officers racially profiled Latinos during traffic stop, and the sheriff was found in civil contempt of court for defying court orders in the case.

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