Ann Kirkpatrick vs. John McCain: Nonpartisan Candidate Guide For 2016 Arizona Senate Race

Are you looking for a nonpartisan voter guide for the Ann Kirkpatrick vs. John McCain Senate race? One that will give you an accurate, no-spin comparison of the candidates’ positions on key issues? Our Campus Election Engagement Project is a national nonpartisan initiative working to increase student electoral participation. At the request of the schools we work with, we’ve created concise nonpartisan candidate guides for the presidential race, for the importance of the 2016 election on future Supreme Court decisions, and for 20 Senate and Governor’s races, including this Senate race. Our lead researcher spent 19 years as a senior editor at Encyclopedia Britannica, and we invite readers to share this and our other guides as widely as possible

So here are the issue-by-issue stands for Ann Kirkpatrick and John McCain. Visit our Nonpartisan Candidate Guides home page to find links to all our other guides, with most available in both online/mobile friendly and printable PDF formats.


Abortion: Should abortion be highly restricted?

Kirkpatrick: No

McCain: Yes. Only exceptions are rape, incest, & when woman’s life is endangered.

Campaign Finance: Do you support the DISCLOSE Act, which requires key funders of political ads to put their names on those ads?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No. Says objection is about how Act is written.[1]

Campaign Finance: Support Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited independent political expenditures by corporations and unions?

Kirkpatrick: No. Supports Constitutional amendment to overturn.

McCain: No. “Worst decision ever.” But voted against Constitutional amendment to overturn.

Climate Change: Believe that human activity is the major factor driving climate change?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: Clear acknowledgement in the past, but more recently has questioned.[2]

Climate Change: Should government limit the levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere?

Kirkpatrick: Mixed. Supported some, but opposed Obama’s Clean Power Plan and sought to delay new ozone standards.[3]

McCain: Previously yes, currently no. Voted to overturn Obama’s Clean Power Plan, delay ozone standard, and prohibit carbon tax.

Contraception: Should employers be able to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?

Kirkpatrick: No

McCain: Yes

Economy: Support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No

Financial Regulation: Support the Dodd-Frank Act, which established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and increases regulation of Wall Street corporations and financial institutions?

Kirkpatrick: No

McCain: No

Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No

Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation?

Kirkpatrick: Yes. Strong background checks and prevent those on terrorist watch list from buying guns.

McCain: Mixed. Strengthen background checks but don’t include private or internet sales.

Healthcare: Repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Kirkpatrick: No

McCain: Yes. Led original effort to repeal and replace.

Healthcare: Should Planned Parenthood be eligible to receive public funds for non-abortion health services?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No. Co-sponsored 2015 bill to defund.

Immigration: Support the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought into the country illegally to achieve legal status if meet certain conditions? [4]

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: Initially supported, then withdrew support. Said we need to first secure borders.

Immigration: Should America’s 11 million undocumented residents have an earned path to citizenship?

Kirkpatrick: Yes. (Also supports strong funding for border enforcement.)

McCain: Yes, but first secure borders.

Iran: Support the US-Iran treaty that limits Iran’s nuclear capability in return for lifting economic sanctions?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No

Iraq: Should the US recommit significant additional ground troops to Iraq to combat the success of ISIS?

Kirkpatrick: Wants to do more, but wants Congressional debate before any decision to send more troops.

McCain: Yes. Wants to send in significantly more troops. Criticizes Obama’s “grudging incrementalism.”

Marijuana: Decriminalize and/or legalize marijuana?

Kirkpatrick: Voted to prevent federal government from overriding state marijuana laws.

McCain: Personally opposes and sees as gateway drug, but advocates for leaving decision to states.

Minimum Wage: Raise the federal minimum wage?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No

Renewable Energy: Support government mandates and/or subsidies for renewable energy?

Kirkpatrick: Generally supports renewable energy subsidies, but has voted against some.

McCain: Has mostly voted against renewable subsidies, particularly since Obama was elected. (Strong supporter of nuclear power expansion.)

Social Security: Support full or partial Social Security privatization?

Kirkpatrick: No

McCain: Yes

Student Debt: Refinance student loans at lower rates, paid for by increasing taxes on high earners?

Kirkpatrick: Identifies reducing student debt as significant issue, but hasn’t taken a stand on this specific approach.

McCain: No. Voted against this bill and for significant cuts to federal student loan program.

Student Financial Aid: Should federal student financial aid, like Pell Grants, be increased?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No. History of voting for substantial cuts.

Supreme Court: Support the Senate holding hearings to consider Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No. Has also pledged to reject Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees if she’s elected.[5]

Taxes: Increase taxes on corporations and/or high-income individuals to pay for public services?

Kirkpatrick: Yes

McCain: No. Pledged to oppose “any and all” tax increases to raise revenue.

Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such as voter ID requirements or reduced registration times, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Kirkpatrick: No. Joined lawsuit challenging AZ voting laws.

McCain: Position unclear. No visible stand found for or against increased requirements.


Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,,,, and public candidate statements. For a guide to all races, see, from the League of Women Voters, and


[1] Previously strong campaign finance reform supporter, but has voted against recent measures to achieve reform. Said voted against Disclose Act because it gave preferential treatment to unions.

[2] Historically strong support for addressing man-made climate change, but recently raised doubts, saying “There are dramatic environmental changes happening in the Arctic region – whether one believes they are man-made or natural.” Also voted against amendment stating that human activity causes climate change.

[3] Acknowledges need to fight climate change and reduce carbon footprint, but environmental record mixed--wary of efforts she says could harm local economies or keep us dependent on foreign oil.

[4] Need to have graduated from high school, have a clean legal record, and attend college or serve in the military.