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GOP's McSally Will End Up in Senate After All

She is appointed to fill John McCain's seat until a special election in 2020
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 18, 2018 11:24 AM CST
Martha McSally speaks with voters in Chandler, Ariz., on Election Day 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

(Newser) – Arizona's governor has named Rep. Martha McSally to replace Jon Kyl in the Senate seat that once belonged to John McCain, the AP reports. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that McSally will take over for Kyl, who was appointed after McCain's death from brain cancer in August but said he would only commit to serving until the end of 2018. McSally, a two-term congresswoman who was long considered for the Senate by the state's GOP establishment, lost the race for retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake's seat to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. "With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona," Ducey said. McSally will serve until the 2020 election, when voters will elect someone to serve the final two years of McCain's term.

Democrats are expected to target Arizona both in the presidential race and the contest for McCain's seat. By initially appointing Kyl, Ducey dodged tough political decisions that could have complicated his own re-election bid. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell then lobbied for Ducey to select McSally, who may have an advantage in 2020 given that most Democrats cited as possible Senate challengers are men. The first female combat pilot, McSally rose to the rank of colonel in the Air Force before entering politics. She carved out a reputation as a moderate who could win tough elections. During her Senate campaign this year, McSally played up her military record against a Democrat she accused of treason.

(Read more Martha McSally stories.)

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