Take a look at 10 of the most significant political moments in McCain’s life, in chronological order:
1. McCain enters politics as a U.S. Congressman in 1983
After returning home from his time as prisoner of war, he began working for his father-in-law’s company, Hensley & Co., as their vice president of public relations. In 1982, McCain chose to run for the first congressional seat of Arizona as a Republican. During his campaign, critics referred to him as a “carpetbagger,” or someone who travels to Southern states with more radically-slanted Republican ideals. In response, McCain delivered a powerful statement, indicating that, at that time, the location in which he had lived the longest was Hanoi (where he was as a P.O.W.). McCain won the primary and the congressional seat.
2. McCain becomes a U.S. Senator for Arizona
In 1986, McCain made the decision to run for one of Arizona’s Senate seats. He easily won the seat and moved into the role in 1987. This seat was previously vacated by Barry Goldwater, who announced his retirement from Senate.
3. McCain delivers speech at 1988 RNC convention
This moment marked one of McCain’s first moments of national visibility. At the 1988 Republican National Convention, McCain delivered a powerful speech and began to make a national name for himself. He was on the shortlist to be George H. W. Bush’s running mate in the 1988 Presidential election.
4. McCain is involved in the Keating 5 scandal
McCain, along with four other U.S. Senators, became embroiled in a years-long scandal known as the Keating 5. Charles Keating Jr., of Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, contributed money and flights to McCain in 1987. That same year, Keating contacted McCain and four other senators in an attempt to prevent seizure of the loan company by the government.McCain met with federal regulators twice in regards to the possible seizure. After review from the Senate Ethics Committee, McCain was cleared of any wrongdoing.
5. McCain joins the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
From 1991 to 1993, Sen. McCain joined the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs. This committee’s intent was to investigate issues regarding U.S. personnel that went MIA or were taken as POWs during the Vietnam War. McCain, along with the committee’s chairman, Sen. John Kerry, had first-hand experience, as they were both veterans of the war and McCain was a prisoner of war. The committee came to the conclusion that there were no longer any U.S. personnel listed as POW/MIA that were living in Southeast Asia.
6. McCain makes his first presidential run
On September 27, 1999, McCain announced his candidacy for the President of the United States, in which he traveled across the country with the brand, “The Straight Talk Express.” He later withdrew from the primary after falling behind George W. Bush, who later won the presidency.
7. The McCain-Feingold Act (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) becomes law
In March 2002, the McCain-Feingold Act, also known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, was signed into law. The act amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, focusing on the issues of soft money and issue advocacy advertisements. It is considered to be one of McCain’s greatest political achievements.
8. McCain announces Sarah Palin as his Presidential running mate
During McCain’s 2008 run for the President of the United States, he made a surprising announcement for his running mate: Sarah Palin. At the time, Palin was the governor of Alaska. This was the first time a Republican nominee for President of the United States had a female running mate.
9. McCain makes his 2008 concession speech
After being defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election race, McCain gave a meaningful concession speech that acknowledged the significance of Obama becoming the first African-American President.
10. McCain votes ‘no’ on Republicans’ attempt at an Obamacare repeal
During the 2016 election year, McCain took a stand against Obamacare, saying that he was in favor of repealing and replacing it. On July 28, 2017, a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act was brought to a vote. Just two weeks after undergoing surgery that revealed he had brain cancer, McCain cast his vote against the repeal, thwarting it. With his vote, he also called out the practice of party-line voting.