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Richard Kimball is an American politician, and founder of the nonprofit voter education organization Project Vote Smart.

Richard Kimball
Member of the Arizona Corporation Commission
In office
January 1983 – September 1985
Preceded byJim Weeks
Succeeded bySharon Megdal
Personal details
Born1946 (age 72–73)
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materUniversity of Arizona

Early lifeEdit

Kimball was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1946.[1] Kimball attended the University of Arizona where he studied political science. He was a staff assistant to Congressman Morris Udall and worked as a press secretary for Senators Walter Mondale and Daniel Moynihan.[2]

Political careerEdit

In 1978, Kimball was elected to represent an area of Phoenix in the Arizona Senate. In the 1982 general election, Kimball was elected to a six year term on the Arizona Corporation Commission for a six year term. In January 1984, his fellow commission members elected him the chairman of the board.[1] In September 1985, Kimball resigned from his position as a member of the commission.[3] Governor Bruce Babbitt appointed Sharon Megdal, a member of the University of Arizona's economics faculty, to the seat.[4]

1986 U.S. Senate electionEdit

After the expected Democratic candidate, Governor Bruce Babbitt, declined to run in favor of a presidential campaign, Kimball was nominated as the Democratic candidate against then-Congressman John McCain for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barry Goldwater.[5] His campaign was subject to negative press from The Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette. One Gazette columnist described him as displaying "terminal weirdness."[6] McCain ultimately won the election by a margin of over 20 percent.[7] Kimball later said: "I joke that John McCain entered the Senate over my dead political body. I think that's pretty accurate."[8]

Twenty years later, 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 said that he spent the following months after the election traveling through Mexico, and then left politics to start Project Vote Smart.[9]

Project Vote SmartEdit

He is currently the president of the organization.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Arizona Corporation Commission 72nd Annual Report" (PDF). June 30, 1984. p. 6. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  3. ^ Lamb, Ginger L. (ed.). "Arizona News Service 2014 Political Almanac" (PDF). Phoenix, Arizona: Arizona News Service. p. 57. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "Arizona Corporation Commission 75th Annual Report" (PDF). June 30, 1987. p. 3. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  5. ^ McCain, John; Salter, Mark (September 24, 2002). Worth the Fighting For: A Memoir. Random House Publishing Group. p. 135. ISBN 9781588362582. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Nowicki, D. & Muller, B. (2007, March 1). The Senate calls. The Arizona Republic. Retrieved September 16, 2007.
  7. ^ Dendy Jr., Dallas L. (May 29, 1987). Anderson, Donnald K. (ed.). Election Results 1986 "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1986" Check |url= value (help). Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Senator John McCain: His early political career
  9. ^ Innes, Stephanie (November 9, 2006). "Candidates on losing end of election cope differently". The Arizona Daily Star.
  10. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-08-16.