Arizona governor Doug Ducey announced Tuesday he will appoint Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) to the Arizona Senate seat previously held by the late senator John McCain. “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,” Ducey said in a statement. “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.”
McSally, fresh off her defeat by Kyrsten Sinema in the 2018 midterm elections, reportedly had the support of both the seat’s temporary occupant, former Sen. John Kyle, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell.
She did not, however, appear to have the support of McCain’s family. McCain’s son-in-law tweeted his disapproval of the idea last week, writing, “McSally strikes me as an unwise choice for a number of reasons. She’s like an NFL team that plays down to its opponents’ level — and she’ll be tasked with running for re-election immediately.” The late senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, retweeted the sentiment.
Meghan McCain was openly critical of McSally; declaring her to be insufficiently respectful of McCain’s memory while campaigning on legislation that bore his name. Cindy McCain rebuffed overtures to appear in a campaign ad for McSally just before the election. Later, as the voters were tabulated, Cindy McCain publicly criticized the Arizona GOP for its efforts to stop ballot-counting early.
The announcement, however, comes days after CNN reported Cindy McCain and McSally met for what the network characterized as a “détente” on Friday. McCain tweeted her “respect” for the governor’s decision Tuesday morning.
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
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) December 18, 2018
With McSally’s appointment, there will be 25 women in the U.S. Senate come January.