NPR logo John McCain Crushes Hayworth To Win AZ GOP Senate Primary


John McCain Crushes Hayworth To Win AZ GOP Senate Primary

Sen. John McCain and wife, Cindy, arrivea at their polling station Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010 in Phoenix. Matt York/AP hide caption

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Matt York/AP

Moving to the ideological right on immigration and spending $20 million paid off handsomely for Sen. John McCain as he fended off a challenge from the right and gained a chance to run for his fifth term in the U.S. Senate.

McCain had nearly 59 percent of the vote versus 29.4 percent for J.D. Hayworth, the conservative radio personality and former congressman.

The race presented McCain with his toughest path to Senate re-election yet. But while the primary race threw an unaccustomed speed bump, he's expected to roll easily to re-election in November.

McCain caused much head-shaking with his change on immigration in which he moved from supporting comprehensive immigration reform several years ago to backing a fence on the southwestern border.

That McCain ran so dangerously close, from his perspective, in polls to Hayworth until the senator tacked right and crushed his opponent under tons of cash, was a testament to the power of the Tea Party movement in Republican circles.

It also testified to the power of immigration as an issue, particularly in Arizona which was reflected in the passage of controversial legislation requiring police in the state to ask about the immigration status during police stops.