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Republicans continue traditional rally on Prescott courthouse steps

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br>
Republican candidates gather on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse on election eve.

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier<br> Republican candidates gather on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse on election eve.

PRESCOTT - Republicans continued their biennial tradition on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse Monday, with candidates stumping for a win on the night before the general election.

While candidates all the way up to U.S. Sen. John McCain were on hand, the atmosphere was much more subdued than two years ago when thousands turned out to see McCain on the night before he lost the presidential election. About 400 to 500 people showed up Monday and only a few signs dotted the audience.

"This is probably the highlight of every campaign I've been in," McCain said of his trips up the courthouse steps every two years.

Noting that four Arizonans have lost bids for the presidency, McCain repeated one of his favorite recent campaign jokes.

"Arizona may be the only state in America where mothers don't tell their children they can grow up and be president," McCain said.

His wife Cindy said it was a bittersweet return to the courthouse steps. Their son Jimmy, a U.S. Marine, joined them.

This time McCain is trying to keep his U.S. Senate seat for the fifth time, and he's expected to easily win although he had more competition this time around than other recent campaigns for his seat.

His tone was different than two years ago, when he spent most of his speech talking about how Barry Goldwater and Mo Udall were friends despite their political differences, and how he wanted to carry on that bipartisan tradition.

"This isn't an election, it's a restraining order," he said Monday night, quoting humorist P.J. O'Rourke.

He said he really liked a bumper sticker he recently spotted: "Please don't tell President Obama what comes after a trillion."

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl joined John and Cindy McCain on the courthouse steps. Kyl predicted that Republicans would win all of the statewide offices, take back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and pick up seats in both houses of the Arizona Legislature.

First Congressional District candidate Paul Gosar spoke briefly, telling people it's time to take back the country and it's time to send a doctor to the House. He is a dentist from Flagstaff.

Gov. Jan Brewer was unable to attend Monday night's rally because she was in San Francisco at the "Ninth Circus - or Circuit, excuse me" - hearing on Arizona's SB1070 law that cracks down on illegal immigration, Secretary of State Ken Bennett said. Brewer appointed him to the job and he hopes to keep it in Tuesday's election.

Other statewide candidates who spoke briefly at the "Victory Rally" were Arizona Corporation Commission candidates Gary Pierce and Brenda Burns, superintendent of public schools candidate John Huppenthal and state treasurer candidate Doug Ducey.

All three Republican candidates for the Legislative District One Senate and House seats also spoke - Sen. Steve Pierce, Rep. Andy Tobin and Karen Fann.

Tobin took a photo of the audience and said he was going to try to send it to Obama so the president could see "the enemy," since the Obama administration is suing Arizona over SB1070.

"We're going to show them what states rights are," Pierce added.

County candidates for judicial and court clerk also attended Monday's rally.

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