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Mac is Back (again): John McCain wins AZ Republican primary over Tea Party candidate August 26, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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On August 24, 2010, John McCain won his party’s primary and was renominated as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat for Arizona. Although McCain won almost 60 % of the popular vote, his comeback was a bit of a surprise. His challenger, Tea Party candidate and ultra-conservative JD Hayworth, was once riding high on the electorate’s anti-incumbent mood, and McCain was pegged as one of the most vulnerable Republicans running for reelection.

How did McCain stage this comeback? By most accounts, the new “Lion of the Senate” was forced to leave his bipartisan rhetoric behind, and instead advocated very conservative responses to problems such as immigration and climate change. That, and he spent at least $20 million more than his opponent. More importantly, though, McCain took advantage of  Hayworth’s extremist ways and ran a number of successful attack ads labeling the Tea Party candidate as a conspiracy theorist and a huckster.

To see excerpts from McCain’s victory speech, and a few of his most effective attack ads, watch the following clips:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why did JD Hayworth seem appealing to conservative Republicans in Arizona?

2.  Why were McCain’s attack ads so persuasive to an electorate that was once seeking to sweep out incumbents?

3.  What lessons might Democrats learn from McCain’s tactics in dealing with Tea Party candidates in November 2010?

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