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Sen. John McCain defeats Kelli Ward, moves on to November general election

(KTAR File Photo)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is one step closer to winning his sixth Senate term after defeating former state Sen. Kelli Ward in the Arizona primary on Tuesday.

McCain easily defeated Republican primary challengers after a hard fought race all summer. Polls leading up to the race indicated it could be close. While one poll gave the longtime senator a huge lead last week, a poll released just 24 hours prior to the primary showed he and Ward essentially running neck and neck.

The race between Ward and McCain reached a fever pitch last week, when Ward insinuated that McCain may be too old to do his job during an interview on “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.

“John McCain is falling down on the job. He has gotten weak. He has gotten old. I do want to wish him a happy birthday. He is going to be 80 on Monday and I want to give him the best birthday present ever, the gift of retirement,” Ward said.

McCain downplayed Ward’s attack, saying only that the voters have Arizona have known him for a long time and would have their say on Tuesday.

With Ward officially out of the way, McCain’s eyes will turn to his U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) who will be his opponent in November’s general election.

However, McCain may already feel fairly comfortable going into that race: Both aforementioned polls gave him a heavy early lead over Kirkpatrick.

Fellow senator Jeff Flake tweeted congrats to McCain.

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