McSally Appointed to Fill McCain's Senate Seat in Arizona

Rep. Martha McSally / Getty Images
December 18, 2018

Republican Arizona Rep. Martha McSally lost her race to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate last month. She's going to the upper chamber anyway.

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he will appoint McSally to fill the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. John Kyl on Dec. 31. Kyl, who previously served in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, was appointed by Ducey in September to temporarily fill the spot of Republican Sen. John McCain, who died in August.

In a strange twist, McSally will serve alongside Democratic Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema, who defeated her in a tight election in November. The race wasn't officially decided until nearly a week after Election Day.

"I’m grateful to @RepMcSally for taking on the great responsibility of representing in the U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect @kyrstensinema to get positive things done," Ducey tweeted.

McCain's widow Cindy McCain tweeted approval of the pick, writing, "My husband’s greatest legacy was placing service to AZ & USA ahead of his own self-interest. I respect @dougducey's decision to appoint @RepMcSally to fill the remainder of his term. Arizonans will be pulling for her, hoping that she will follow his example of selfless leadership."

After never having a female U.S. Senator before, Arizona will have two in the new Congress. Republicans will hold a 53-47 majority in the U.S. Senate, and there will be a record 25 women in the chamber.

A former Air Force pilot, McSally has served in the House of Representatives since 2015. She was once a strong opponent of President Donald Trump but embraced him on the campaign trail against Sinema, who reinvented herself as a centrist since being elected to the House in 2012.