Arizona governor to ignore will of people, appoint defeated Martha McSally to Senate

The defeated Senate nominee will be appointed to replace Sen. Jon Kyl for the last two years of the late Sen. John McCain's term.

Then-Senate nominee Martha McSally (R-AZ) at an October rally with Donald Trump.
Then-Senate nominee Martha McSally (R-AZ) at an October rally with Donald Trump. CREDIT: by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

On November 6, Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) was defeated in her election to be a U.S. senator, losing to Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D) by more than a 2 point margin — 1,191,100 votes (49.96 percent) to 1,135,200 (47.61). But despite the fact that McSally got more than 55,000 fewer votes, she too will get a U.S. Senate seat come January, thanks to her former boss and the state’s Republican governor.

After Sen. John McCain (R) died in August, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed lobbyist and former Sen. Jon Kyl (R) to fill his unexpired term. But Kyl did not want to serve for the entire 28 remaining months of McCain’s six-year term and announced Friday that he would resign, effective December 31.Despite Ducey’s inner circle reportedly having reservations about appointing McSally to take Kyl’s place — she lost in a state that went to Trump in 2016 and just re-elected Ducey with 56 percent of the vote, but later released a four-page memo blaming everyone but herself for her defeat — the governor announced on Tuesday that he will give the remaining two years of the Senate term to McSally. This move reportedly comes at the strong urging of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

Prior to her tenure in the U.S. House, McSally once worked as an aide to Kyl, who she has praised as a “brilliant man” and a “workhorse, not a show-horse.”

McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, tweeted out a not-particularly-enthusiastic statement, wishing McSally well and saying she “respect[s]” Ducey’s decision.

McSally was hammered throughout the 2018 campaign for her dishonest claims about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, her 97 percent support for Donald Trump (despite once explicitly vowing to vote against her own party more than 20 percent of the time), and for her shifting positions on immigration reform and many other issues.


But even though Arizona voters decisively rejected having her as their Senator, thanks to Ducey, they will get her anyway.