As of Tuesday, Arizona officially has a permanent replacement to fill the late John McCain’s seat in the Senate. Gov. Doug Ducey released an announcement in the morning, giving the job to Rep. Martha McSally, the woman who was widely predicted to get the nod.
“All her life, Martha has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” Ducey said in a statement. “She served 26 years in the military; deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan; was the first woman to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat; and she’s represented Southern Arizona in Congress for the past four years. 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.”
McSally’s path to the upper chamber has been an interesting one, to say the least. She was gunning for Arizona’s other seat – the one abdicated by retiring turncoat Jeff Flake. She was defeated for that seat, ever-so-narrowly, by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema last month. But her woes were short-lived. After original McCain replacement John Kyl announced that he was hanging up his boots at the end of the year, the governor was left with no choice but to hand the seat to someone else. Who better than the U.S. Representative who was the choice of millions of Arizona voters?
“Over the last year, I’ve traveled across this great state, meeting with countless Arizonans, and listening to them,” McSally said. “I’ve heard about the challenges they face and the hopes they have for the future – and I’ve learned a lot. I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans. I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from day one.”
If there is a downside to McSally’s consolation prize, it is that she will only be guaranteed a two-year term in office. In 2020, the year that McCain’s seat would have been up for grabs, she will have to win the seat legitimately in a new election if she wants to stay in Washington.