Well, it looks like Martha McSally will be a U.S. Senator after all. Despite reports that McSally’s stock was falling among Arizona Republicans, Gov. Doug Ducey decided to appoint her to fill the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s term. She will be serving with her 2018 opponent Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema (via AZ Governor’s Office):
All her life, @RepMcSally has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights. With her experience and record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to fight for #Arizona in the U.S. Senate. https://t.co/QYY8vrd7K4— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) December 18, 2018
I’m grateful to @RepMcSally for taking on the great responsibility of representing #Arizona in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect @kyrstensinema to get positive things done.— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) December 18, 2018
Governor Doug Ducey today announced the appointment of U.S. Representative Martha McSally (AZ-02) to the United States Senate, following the resignation of U.S. Senator Jon Kyl.
“All her life, Martha has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” said Governor Ducey. “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.”
“Over the last year, I’ve traveled across this great state, meeting with countless Arizonans, and listening to them,” said Representative McSally. “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.”
The best part is that McSally will now be Arizona's first female senator— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) December 18, 2018
Sinema will be 2nd
With McSally appointment, the states with all-women delegations in the Senate:— Natalie Andrews (@nataliewsj) December 18, 2018
This also puts the Senate on track to have a record-breaking number of women in the chamber.
The Arizona Senate race was one of the tightest of the 2018 cycle. Jon Gabriel, an Arizona native and editor-in-chief at Ricochet, listed a few reasons fro why McSally fell short in her bid against Sinema:
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.
McSally hails from Pima County, home to Tucson, while Sinema is from Maricopa County, home to Phoenix. More than half the state’s population lives in the latter, so they didn’t know much about the Tucson-based candidate. She needed to spend a lot more time defining herself since Sinema was already defined to a big chunk of Arizonans.
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.
Since McSally had been very friendly with McCain, many conservative Republicans were turned off from the start. Late in the campaign, McSally embraced Trump, so moderate Republicans were turned off. Too much of the GOP, a vote for McSally seemed like a requirement but was nothing to get excited about.
McSally will serve the remainder of McCain’s term, which expires in 2020. It’ll be another statewide election in a presidential year, where the Left will be itching to boot Trump from office. At the same time, McSally has plenty of time to fix a lot of the things that Gabriel pointed out hindered her campaign, namely getting to know voters in the state better. As for Democrats, well, they’re not worried—and look forward to clipping her. But two years is a long time in politics.
DSCC on McSally, whose seat will be up again in 2020: “McSally was a weak candidate who ran a disrespectful campaign, and lied about her record of voting to gut pre-existing conditions coverage for 2.8 million Arizonans. Voters rejected her once, and will do so again.”— Rebecca Buck (@RebeccaBuck) December 18, 2018