Republican John McCain was first elected to Congress in 1982, in 1986 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and is currently the senior senator from Arizona.
McCain is known for speaking and voting against his own party, often described as a "maverick" senator and is something of a star these days.
McCain recently visited Payson for a natural resources town hall.
McCain told residents Washington simply doesn't get it. His response to a question about a bill authorizing $136 billion in tax breaks was typical.
"The system in Washington is broken," he said. "It is broken.
McCain also addressed health care.
"The (prescription drug) bill that we passed was a disgrace for two reasons. One, it prohibits the importation of prescription drugs from Canada or from Europe. Two, it prohibits Medicare from negotiating with drug companies for lower drug prices.
"The health care costs in America are probably the most daunting challenge we face."
Democrat Stuart Starky is running for U.S. Senate. He actually out-polled McCain in the Gila County primary.
A math teacher, Starky has never held public office. He said he is running for Senate because he can be more effective at the national level.
Starky said he aligns himself with Sen. John Kerry on most issues. The following list highlights his stance on current issues:
- Iraq: set a fixed date to bring the troops home. Allow the United Nations to work with Iraq as a sovereign government.
- Labor: increase the minimum wage to $7.50 per hour.
- Abortion: Pro-choice
- Energy: wants to shift 20 percent of the U.S. energy demand to alternatives such as hydrogen, solar, nuclear coal and hydroelectric methods.
For more information see www.starkyforsenate.com.
Ernest Hancock has been a Libertarian activist since the early 1990s. He has run for the state legislature, the secretary of state and the U.S. Congress. This year will mark his first race for the U.S. Senate, but that doesn't mean he cares about winning.
"I've been doing this for a long time," he said. "I care about winning freedom, not votes. My goal is to get my freedom."
He has never held public office, but every time he runs he impacts Arizona's politics just a little more, he said.
"Libertarians have an impact on elections because we take a block of votes away that mean something," Hancock said. "It's the liberty vote. It's the freedom vote."
Hancock said his main issue in the campaign is self ownership.
"Do you own yourself? If you do, from that comes a lot of things," he said.
Self ownership covers a citizen's right to defend his or her life, liberty and property. Hancock said the sole purpose of government is to protect those rights, not take them away.
For more information, visit www.ernesthancock.com.