John McCain Hinting He Will Run For Re-Election In 2016

John McCain

Setting aside long standing speculation of a retirement after more than 30 years in office between the House and the Senate, John McCain is hinting strongly that he will run for re-election in 2016:

John McCain sure sounds like he’s running for reelection.

The five-term Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee launched a new political web page on Thursday and has continued to boost his campaign coffers in recent months. And while he wouldn’t commit 100 percent to running for another term in 2016, he said he’s leaning strongly toward it and doing everything he can in preparation for another tough race.

But he said there’s no rush even as some of his colleagues, like Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), have already announced their reelection runs in order to help head off primary challengers.

“We’ve been having many meetings with people, the usual process you go through,” McCain said in an interview as he exited the Capitol on Thursday evening. “There’s no reason for me to make a final decision right now.”

McCain said a primary challenger is “coming anyway” but he has “plenty of time” to worry about it. He’s been censured by the state Republican Party, voted for a gun background checks bill and was a key architect of the Senate-passed comprehensive immigration reform bill. McCain’s biggest challenge will be his party’s right flank, though Democrats are vowing to compete in Arizona if he retires.

McCain spent $20 million in his primary triumph over former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in 2010 and said Thursday that “maybe” he will need the same kind of cash in 2016. McCain currently has $1.5 million on hand but has recently flashed examples of his fundraising prowess as a national name, raising more than $800,000 in the first quarter of 2013 and nearly $600,000 from April to June of this year.

“I spend a lot of time on Arizona issues, a lot of town-hall meetings, do ’em all the time. And that’s the way: You do that, what I’ve been doing the last two or three years, so all of a sudden you don’t just reappear on the scene when you are running,” McCain said, declining to name but clearly referring to former and current colleagues who were caught napping during primary season. “Just gotta prepare for the worst, and anybody who doesn’t is not a smart politician.”

McCain would be 80 in 2016 so obviously the issue of his age would at least be an undercurrent in such an election. In a primary fight, there are any number of Republicans who might challenge him for the party nomination, ranging from outgoing Governor Jan Brewer to current and former Republican Members of Congress such as Matt Salmon, John Shaddegg, Trent Franks, and David Schweikert. On the Democratic side, one name that is likely to come up at least in conversation will be former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who continues to play a role in politics as an advocate for gun control legislation, or her husband retired astronaut Mark Kelly. Other potential candidates would include someone such as former Governor and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Richard Carmona, the former Surgeon General,

If McCain decides not to run, of course, his seat would likely become highly contested by both parties. Even if he does run, though, this will likely be a high profile race in two years.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Trumwill says:

    Essentially, I think the old guy has nothing to retire to.

  2. John Peabody says:


  3. C. Clavin says:

    Leapin’ lizards…the last time he brought Sarah Palin, she of the white-trash drunken brawl, upon us…who is he going to bless us with this time????

  4. CSK says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Well, no one, presumably, since he’;ll be running for re-election to his senate seat.

  5. C. Clavin says:

    dOH…Clearly I wasn’t paying attention.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    Will someone please turn him over and check his butt. There must be a “use by” date there somewhere.

    But I can see why he wants to run. A six year term = 312 Sunday mornings. (Does he ever go to church?)

  7. al-Ameda says:

    I’ve got the bumper sticker already:
    “McCain in 2016: Get off America’s lawn!”

  8. michael reynolds says:

    What will the bookers at the Sunday morning shows do if McCain retires? Think of the bookers. Won’t someone think of the bookers?

  9. @michael reynolds:

    Think of the bookers. Won’t someone think of the bookers?

    More a Maker’s Mark man myself, but if you insist…

  10. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Remember, this is Washington D.C., not Washington State. There will always be some gasbag who wants his 15 minutes of fame. The bookers may have to work for a while, but they’ll find a new regular quickly.

  11. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    I don’t actually care, but I was told to contact the administrator to remove my comment from moderation.

  12. tomj says:

    I hope that old bitter dangerous warmongering madman retires or the people of AZ boots this old sore loser out of office.