(59.) JOHN SIDNEY MCCAIN, III (1936-2018)
Republican McCain/Sarah Palin
Defeated by Democrat Barack Obama/Joe Biden, 2008

McCain was born on August 29th, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958, McCain began his career as a naval aviator. During the Vietnam War, he was shot down over Hanoi and badly injured. He endured five and a half years as a prisoner of war. He was released in 1973 and his wartime injuries left him permanently incapable of raising either arm more than 80 degrees. For his actions as a POW, McCain was awarded numerous medals. He retired in 1981 as a captain.

In 1982, he was elected to Congress representing the first congressional district of Arizona. In 1986, he was elected to the United States Senate to take the place of Arizona’s Senator Barry Goldwater. He won reelection easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004. While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain at times had a media reputation as a “Maverick” for having disagreed with his party.

In 2000, McCain ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for the U.S. President. He launched his second attempt for the Republican nomination in 2008 and won. In the general election against Democratic nominee Barack Obama, McCain trailed most of the time, only gaining a lead in national polls for a period after the historic Sarah Palin Vice-Presidential announcement at the Republican National Convention. The dominant issue of the campaign became the financial crisis of 2008. On November 4th, 2008, Obama defeated McCain in the presidential election, winning with a 365-173 electoral College vote margin and a 53-46 percent popular vote edge.