Arizona Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot, is 80 years old. He was also just re-elected to another term in the Senate, so he has six more years in office, unless he retires before 2022. McCain was hospitalized in December for a viral infection, and as of December 18, 2017, he was heading home to spend the holidays with his family.
McCain wasn’t expected to run for Senate again. Back in 2013, McCain suggested that he would retire in 2016 and would not run for re-election, The Hill reported at the time. In an interview with The Wrap in 2013, McCain told Obama supporters at a launch party for Pivot, a TV network that featured daughter Meghan McCain, that he was possibly in his last term.
“The president and I, he’s in his last term, I’m probably in mine, the relationship we have had over the past three years is quite good. Quite good,” McCain said at the time.
When asked if he was serious, McCain replied, “Nah, I don’t know. I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don’t have to make a decision. I don’t want to be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.”
Instead, McCain, who has served in the Senate since 1987, decided to run for another six-year term in 2016. He had a serious primary challenger in former Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward, who said she thought McCain should retire. Ward, a doctor, even told Politico that she didn’t think McCain would live to see the end of his term.
“I’m a doctor. The life expectancy of the American male is not 86. It’s less,” Ward told the site.
McCain cruised through the primary and general election, earning over 50 percent of the vote in both races. He defeated Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick with 53.7 percent of the vote.
McCain ran for president in 2000 and 2008, winning the Republican nomination in 2008 and losing to Democrat Barack Obama. He’s currently the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has been serving Arizona in Washington since 1983, when he was elected to the House of Representatives.
McCain is also a Vietnam War veteran, surviving six years in a prisoner of war camp from 1967 to 1973. As ABC News notes, McCain was captured by the North Vietnamese in October 1967 after his plane crashed. He suffered injuries to his right leg and received inadequate care while in captivity, which is why he limps to this day. He was also tortured by the enemy until October 1969 and remained in solitary confinement until March 1970. In addition to his limp, he is also unable to raise his arms above his shoulders.