New Hanover County GOP: John McCain leaves ‘big shoes to fill’

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) —  Two days after Senator John McCain died at the age of 81, reaction to his death continues, including here in our area.

“We’ve lost a great leader, and they’ll be big shoes to fill, but it’s time for somebody to step up and take the reigns that he once held,” said Pete Divoky, First Vice Chair of the New Hanover County Republican Party.

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Divoky has a different appreciation for John McCain than most.

“My dad just like Senator McCain was an aviator and did fly in Vietnam with McCain and that group,” he said.

He says McCain was not afraid to cross party lines, especially during the past few years. Something his fellow conservatives were not always fond of.



“The last two years it’s been very interesting because he definitely did not support our current president,” said Divoky.

Stephen McFarland, a history professor at UNCW, says this is a rare characteristic in our current political climate.

“He was one of the last, truly great bipartisan leaders we’ve had, someone who was willing to put aside party affiliations for what he felt was right,” said McFarland.

McFarland says while it’s a positive thing that less Americans are being sent to war, he also believes that it has an impact on politics.

“You don’t have that veteran who’s had that experience, especially as a prisoner of war. And it so changes them, and makes them so committed to the United States and so willing to, for example, take a bipartisan stand,” said McFarland.

Divoky says he’s a big supporter of reaching across the aisle, and that things worked “much better” years ago when elected officials did reach across the aisle.