His campaign was subject to negative press from the Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette, both owned by McCain benefactor Darrow Tully. One Gazette columnist described him as displaying "terminal weirdness."  McCain ultimately won the election by a margin of twenty percent, and is now Arizona's senior Senator.
In his 2002 memoir Worth the Fighting For, McCain described the race and his opponent:
[M]y first race for the Senate was pretty close to a foregone conclusion. I led in the polls from start to finish. My eventual opponent, Richard Kimball, (...) was a tall, good-looking guy who shared his name with the hero of a popular 1960s television drama, The Fugitive. He was a nice man and a well-intentioned public servant. But for all his fine qualities, he was not the first-tier candidate the Democrats had hoped to field.
According to the Project Vote Smart web site, during his closing remarks at a debate, Kimball decided to forgo an attack on McCain in favor of this speech:
Understand what we do to you; we spend all of our time raising money, often from strangers we do not even know. Then we spend it in three specific ways: first we measure you, what it is you want to purchase in the political market place -- just like Campbell's Soup or Kellogg's Cereal. Next we hire some consultants who know how to tailor our image to fit what will sell. Lastly, we bombard you with the meaningless, issueless, emotional nonsense that is always the result. And which ever one of us does that best will win!
Kimball commented on the campaign to a reporter from the Arizona Daily Star: "I was enormously depressed — not because I lost. It was because I spent all my time collecting money." He spent the months after the election traveling through Mexico, and has not sought public office since.
- Nowicki, D. & Muller, B. (2007, March 1). The Senate calls. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
- Election statistics from the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives.
- McCain, J., & Salter, M. (2002). Worth the Fighting For. New York: Random House.
- Kimball, R. (2008). Project Vote Smart's History. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved March 3, 2008.
- Innes, S. (2006, November 9). Candidates on losing end of election cope differently. The Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved October 8, 2007.