The family of U.S. Sen. John McCain, Arizona’s senior senator and the 2008 Republican nominee for president, announced his death after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Florida’s political leaders remembered the longtime Senate leader.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, elected in 2010, issued a statement mourning McCain.
“John McCain’s sacrifices to his country are immeasurable. With his passing today, America has lost more than a leader and more than a senator. We have lost a true American hero. As a colleague in the Senate and a friend, I drew personal inspiration from his leadership, intellect and moral courage. He set the standard for what we should expect from our soldiers and from our public servants of all levels. In this time of grief, I hope John’s family finds comfort in knowing that this extraordinary man touched countless lives, and his memory will continue to set the standard of leadership and moral resolve for future generations.”
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat elected to the Senate in 2000, called McCain a friend a hero.
“John McCain was my friend and one of my heroes. He devoted his life to duty, honor and country. He shall always be a role model for me.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who is running against Nelson this year, noted McCain’s military service.
“John McCain was a true American hero. As a Navy man myself, I’ve always had immense respect for Senator McCain. A lot of folks talk tough, but he was the real deal. From one Navy family to another, we extend our sincerest gratitude for his strength and perseverance. John will always be a beacon of hope and perseverance for America. He was a true fighter and fought every day for this country. We will miss him dearly but take comfort in knowing his legacy will live on forever.”
Former Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother George W. defeated McCain in the Republican presidential primary in 2000, praised McCain’s lifetime of service.
“John McCain’s courageous and selfless lifetime of service is a profile in American exceptionalism. Prayers this evening for the Senator, Cindy and the entire McCain family.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sent prayers to McCain’s family.
“US Senator John McCain was a war hero, a public servant and a great American. Our country is better for his service. My heart breaks, and my prayers are with Cindy, Meghan and the entire McCain family.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, celebrated all stages of McCain’s service. “America lost one of her bravest defenders today. In a cockpit, an enemy prison, or the Senate chamber, John McCain fought for our nation’s values and freedoms, and sacrificed much in the journey. May God welcome him home and give comfort to his family.”
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis remembered his interaction with McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign.
“Katie, Theo and I had the honor to meet Senator McCain during his 2008 campaign for President. My family appreciates his sacrifices for our country and pray for strength for the McCain Family.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, a Democratic candidate for governor, spoke of the relationship between McCain and her father, former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham. “Dad and @SenJohnMcCain formed a friendship serving together because John McCain was one of the rare statesman who could place public service before partisanship. He was a warrior and maverick all the way to the end. May he rest in peace.”
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic candidate for governor, praised McCain’s character. “We’ve lost a truly courageous leader tonight. John McCain’s integrity and love for our country was boundless. He led with a passion and purpose that we all aspire to. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends this difficult evening.”
Chris King, another Democratic candidate, posted a classic photo of McCain being honored for his service by President Richard Nixon.
Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, a Democratic candidate for governor, also remembered McCain. “His patriotism is beyond measure, his heroism beyond question, and his character is a role model for a life beautifully lived.”
Attorney General candidate Sean Shaw, a Democrat, also posted a picture of McCain with another president, former opponent Barack Obama.
Agriculture Commissioner candidate Baxter Troutman, a Republican, was among those mentioning McCain’s maverick reputation.
Chief Financial Officer candidate Jeremy Ring, a Democrat, called McCain a true patriot.
“So sad to hear of the passing of a true American Patriot and Hero . My prayers are with his family at this time as well as all the people he has touched throughout his eighty-one years. Senator McCain, THANK YOU for your service to the American people.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who as Florida’s Republican governor campaigned for McCain for president, remembered the senator.
“Tonight our country lost a true American hero. Honored to have called Senator McCain a friend. May God bless his loved ones during this time of loss.”
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Democrat, echoed the thoughts. “America loses a true patriot in Senator John McCain. Honor him with independent thinking, love of country.”
U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, a Republican, added his tribute to McCain. “John McCain was a true American patriot who sacrificed much for his country. He was a man of tremendous courage and will be missed.”
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican, released the following statement: “I am saddened at the passing of a true American hero, Senator John McCain. Senator McCain was a devoted family man, a passionate leader, and a dedicated public servant. He always put his country first, and as such he leaves behind an impressive legacy of service and sacrifice. The Bilirakis family was fortunate to call him a friend for many years. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. May his memory be eternal!”
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Democrat, also put out a statement: “”I was so incredibly saddened to hear the news of Senator John McCain’s passing. He was a classic Patriot and served our nation with honor and distinction. May his family find the peace that they need in this difficult time, and know that his legacy will forever endure. Throughout Senator McCain’s years of distinguished service, we all saw firsthand his integrity, humility, courage and grace. My thoughts and prayers are with his entire family. Senator McCain inspired a nation and will be dearly missed.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, shared a picture of herself with McCain and a message for his family. “An American hero passed away but his legacy will endure. A fighter through and through, was a patriot and a true American hero. Dexter and I were proud to know him.”
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Republican, said he felt honored to have served in Washington with McCain. “ was a true hero. Honored to have known him and served in Washington with him. Thinking of the McCain family and all who loved him tonight. Rest in peace Maverick.”
U.S. Rep. John Rutherford was among those celebrating McCain’s military contributions. “I am saddened by the passing of Senator John McCain and thank him for his service to our nation both in the Navy and in Congress. For decades, his dedication to his country, his family, and his principles have served as an example to us all.”
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, a Democrat, said he was incredibly saddened to hear of McCain’s death. “He embodied true patriotism and was a man of unflinching integrity, who went above and beyond the call of duty in service to our country. This is a profound loss for our nation.”
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat, recalled a diplomatic trip the two lawmakers took together to Vietnam. “Patriot. Hero. Public Servant. Maverick. Senator McCain will be missed by this nation. As a Vietnamese refugee, I will treasure the memory of visiting Vietnam with talking about our deep and mutual love for America. Rest In Peace, Senator. Your legacy lives on.”
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat, simply thanked McCain for his candor. “Thank you for your service to our country, for your courage and for your candor!”
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican, said McCain exemplified the best of the United States. “Sen. John McCain dedicated his entire life to serving our nation. As a Navy Veteran, a war hero, and later through his service in Congress, he exemplified the best this country has to offer as a statesman. My prayers are with the McCain family during this difficult time.
U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Republican, issued a lengthy statement celebrating McCain’s life from the military to his Senate service. “Generations to come will benefit from his selfless dedication to duty and country.”
U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Democrat, simply passed along her regrets at the news.
Florida Senate President Joe Negron celebrated McCain’s military record. “We are keeping the McCain family in our prayers as they grieve this incredible loss. Senator McCain was an American hero who served the cause of freedom throughout his entire life. He endured suffering most of us cannot imagine. We are so grateful for his service and sacrifice.”
State Rep. Jason Fischer also made note of McCain’s naval record. “Fair winds and following seas, shipmate. We have the watch.”
State Rep. Shevrin Jones demonstrated the bipartisan affection for the senator, saying McCain “was an example of what courage, strength, and civility in the process looked like. Today, let us honor him for showing the world that it can be done. To a true American legend and hero, Rest In Peace.”
Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, a Democratic candidate for Congress in South Florida, released the following statement: “It is a sad day today for all Americans. I may not have always agreed with Sen. John McCain, but I always respected him. He was a true American hero who fought for what he believed in — both in war and in Washington — and was a true representative of his people, not special interests. He was a warrior, a statesman, a model for us all. His death Saturday can be mourned by both Republicans and Democrats because Sen. McCain wasn’t afraid to cross the aisle, or challenge his own party and its leaders, when he felt he had to. Twice, he refused to support GOP legislation to end the Affordable Healthcare Act. His example and his leadership will be missed.”
Jesse Phillips, Seminole County Republican state committeeman, mentioned McCain sometimes upset his base but always inspired respect. “Love him or hate him, the maverick embodied so much of what makes America great.”
Christian Whitfield, Jacksonville City Council candidate, honored McCain’s service record. “Elizabeth and I would like to send our condolences to the family and to our fellow and shipmate sleep in peace sir, we have the watch.”
Hawthorne Mayor Matt Surrency recalled a famous moment when McCain dismissed false theories about Obama even in the midst of the presidential race.
This story will be updated as more leaders release statements.