Martha McSally To Be Appointed To Succeed Jon Kyl (and John McCain) In The Senate

Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema will end up representing Arizona in the Senate together.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will appoint outgoing Congresswoman Martha McSally, who narrowly lost a bid for the seat of retiring Senator Jeff Flake to Democratic nominee Kyrsten Sinema, to fill the seat formerly held by Senator John McCain:

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has appointed fellow Republican Rep. Martha McSally to the Senate, he announced Tuesday, picking a favorite of GOP leaders to fill the seat John McCain held for decades.

McSally, who lost a close race for Arizona’s other Senate seat this year, will succeed Sen. Jon Kyl (R). Kyl will step down at the end of the year following a brief time in McCain’s seat after McCain’s death in August.

“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate. I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility,” Ducey said in a statement.

More from AZCentral:

Republican U.S. Rep. Martha McSally will replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl to fill for the next two years the Senate seat long held by the late U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to appoint McSally, announced in a statement Tuesday and effective next month, revives her political life less than two months after she narrowly lost therace for the state’s other Senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.

It also makes Arizona one of only a handful of states with two women in the U.S. Senate. Prior to Sinema’s election, Arizona had never selected a woman to fill a Senate seat. In prepared statements, Ducey and McSally echoed the same sentiment: an expectation that McSally and Sinema, her 2018 political rival, would work together in the Senate.

Ducey and McSally are scheduled to speak at a joint news conference in Phoenix on Tuesday morning.

In a statement about his selection to The Arizona Republic, Ducey cited McSally’s military background and six deployments to the Middle East and Afghanistan.

“All her life, Martha has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” the governor’s prepared statement said.

“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate. I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility and look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect Sinema to get positive things done.”

(…)

“All her life, Martha has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” the governor’s prepared statement said.

“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate. I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility and look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect Sinema to get positive things done.”

Sinema, who has assumed the mantle of leader of Arizona’s Democratic Party with her Senate win, is expected to flex her political power to try to help Democrats in 2020 take the seat, which was held by McCain for six terms and the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, another Republican, before that.

If McSally were to lose again in 2020, it could spark a new round of Republican recriminations

The prospect of McSally being named to what used to be McCain’s seat in the event that she lost the race for Jeff Flake’s seat has been something that has been openly talked about ever since Governor Ducey appointed Kyl, who had served as a Senator until retiring in 2012, to serve in McCain’s place for the balance of 2018 at least. At the time, Kyl had made it clear that he had no intention of running for the seat when it is up for a Special Election in 2020 and that he would likely resign by the end of 2018. That announcement came last week when Kyl announced that he would be resigning effective December 31st. At that point, attention shifted back to Ducey, who was now required to select a temporary Senator for the second time in a few months. With the results of the race between McSally being fairly close, and McSally getting credit from several sides for what most people saw as a gracious concession after it became clear that Sinema had won the race against McSally.

McSally’s appointment means that Arizona will become one of a handful of states — including California, Minnesota, and New Hampshire — represented by two women. It will also be one of the rare times when a state was represented at the same time by one Senator and another who they had defeated in an election. Other times this has happened include Gordon Smith and Ron Wyden, who had faced each other in a Special Election in January 1996 to replace Bob Packwood in January 1996 with Smith later winning election to Oregon’s other Senate seat in November 1996. Chuck Hagel and Ben Nelson, who served together representing Nebraska after Hagel defeated Nelson in 1996 and Nelson went on to win an election to the state’s other seat four years later, and Slade Gorton and Brock Adams who both represented Washington State for a brief period of time after Adams had defeated Gorton in 1986 and Adams won election to the state’s other seat in 1988.

In any case, McSally will likely technically end up being considered Arizona’s “Senior” Senator, a title that has little actual meaning, if she gets sworn in even a day or two before Sinema. Additionally, McSally will be required to run in a Special Election in 2020 that will decide who fills out the remainder of McCain’s term. There will be another election in 2022, which is when McCain’s current term would have expired had he not died.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    Since being a Trump-a-phile, didn’t help her win Flake’s seat, I wonder if she’ll be more circumspect in supporting Tiny?

  2. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I was wondering the same thing.

    And in other news, the Trump Foundation has been ordered to dissolve under court supervision. Apparently the NYAG doesn’t trust the Trumps not to pocket the assets themselves. Would you?

    3
  3. PJ says:

    @CSK:
    But what about the CLINTON FOUNDATION?

    😉

    /S

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @PJ: Coming to a tweet near you.