It’s official. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has emerged victorious over Republican Martha McSally in Arizona’s Senate race. Sinema will occupy the seat that will be vacated by spineless Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who would not have won re-election to his seat if he ran for re-election. Flake’s approval ratings are abysmal—and he would have lost handily in a primary challenge.
Congrats to @kyrstensinema. I wish her success. I’m grateful to all those who supported me in this journey. I’m inspired by Arizonans’ spirit and our state’s best days are ahead of us. pic.twitter.com/tw0uKgi3oO— McSally For Senate (@MarthaMcSally) November 13, 2018
For all her left-wing antics, including her blasé remarks about Americans joining the Taliban, she still ran a good campaign. Jon Gabriel of Ricochet, an Arizona resident, listed three reasons why Sinema was able to eke out a win:
McSally’s Prevent Defense
McSally is no stranger to razor-thin votes. She lost the 2012 congressional race by less than 2,500 votes and won the 2014 rematch by just 167. A major reason for this is her campaigning style.
The Pima County Republican is very cautious. Very cautious. Instead of barnstorming the map and mixing it up with all comers, she carefully issues press releases and attends controlled events. She wouldn’t even agree to a debate with Sinema for months and then only participated in one.
Her style is reminiscent of the much-derided “prevent defense” in the NFL. A football team wants to protect a lead, so they stop trying to score and merely attempt to prevent the other team from scoring. It backfires so often, it’s often parodied as the “prevent-you-from-winning defense.” It definitely backfired for McSally.
Negative Ad Burnout
Most Arizonans would agree that the 2018 Senate race was the most negative statewide campaign they had ever seen. Traditionally, candidates buy a mix of positive and negative ads, a proven strategy that Sinema held to. But McSally and the outside groups supporting her were nearly all-negative, all-the-time. Focusing on the Republican’s remarkable achievements in the military and also in politics would have gone a long way to define a woman few in the state knew much about. Sure, there were a few ads like that, but not nearly enough to match Sinema’s seeming optimism.
The McCain/Flake Hangover
Arizona conservatives have been frustrated with their Republican senators for many years. Jeff Flake and John McCain campaigned as rock-ribbed right-wingers every six years only to vote with Democrats in DC on crucial issues.
The Left Was Motivated — and Organized
The Right in Arizona had been well-organized for the past decade, but the Left finally caught up. What began as a grassroots effort to increase teacher pay in early 2018 was quickly professionalized by the state Democratic party and outside groups. Through social media and text messages, the movement activated hundreds of thousands of Arizonans and resulted in a 20 percent salary increase.
Sinema Ran a Great Campaign
Whether its genuine or an act, Sinema has focused on cultivating her moderate bona fides for years. In the House and now in the Senate campaign, her mailers and ads are nothing but waving flags and smiling veterans. She barely mentions her party but stresses her “independence” and willingness to work with “literally anyone” on conservative issues.
So, now that’s over. McSally can still serve in the U.S. Senate. Yes, even though she lost, it’s possible that she could represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate. It will take Republican Gov. Doug Ducey, who trounced his Democratic opponent to win another term, to sign off on it, and current Sen. Jon Kyl needs to resign. Kyl was appointed to fill the vacancy left by the late Sen. John McCain. The discussions on this route have already begun, as Kyl has zero interest in returning to public life.
With Sinema winning AZ Senate race, expect immediate chatter about AZ Gov Ducey potentially appointing McSally to Senate once Kyl steps down from seat he was appointed to after McCain died— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 13, 2018
Via AZ Central:
While Republican Party leaders try to regain their temporarily (I hope) lost sanity and get over it, consider this:
Republican Martha McSally soon could be called Sen. McSally.
More than one million Arizona voters wanted to see the former fighter-pilot-turned-southern-Arizona congresswoman in the Senate.
Gov. Doug Ducey could grant them their wish.
Ducey could appoint McSally to the late Sen. John McCain’s Senate seat, the one that placeholder Jon Kyl is expected to leave by year’s end.
By the weekend, it was becoming clear that McSally’s bid for the Senate was not going to be successful, but this avenue could be an option for her to continue serving the people of Arizona… if she wants it. It’s also unknown if Kyl or Ducey will sign off on this, but the option remains.