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Our Views: The case for Kelli Ward as Arizona’s next U.S. Senator

December 16, 2018

Jon Kyl was always a short-term fix for the U.S. Senate. When Gov. Doug Ducey visited Lake Havasu City a few months ago, he told a Today’s News-Herald reporter he’d like Kyl to fill out the remainder of the late Sen. John McCain’s term — that is, until 2020 — but anyone who’s been paying attention knows Kyl had little intention staying past the end of the year. Now that his departure is official, it’s up to Ducey, again, to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of McCain’s term. This time, Arizona needs more than a seat warmer. With one seat now held by Democrats, Ducey is going to want to appoint a candidate who can turn an short-term appointment into a long-term career, keeping the seat in Republican hands for another generation.

With respect to some of the names being suggested, including Martha McSally, Ducey ought to give serious consideration to Kelli Ward.

The Lake Havasu City physician ran two hard-fought campaigns for the Senate in the last four years, and has emerged as a leader within the state Republican party. Ward recently announced her intention to run for chairman of the Arizona GOP. While she would represent the state well in that position, helping guide the party’s strategy and positions, we think Arizona could be even better served with Ward in Washington.

Importantly, she would be a voice for the rural northern part of the state, which tends to get ignored by our representatives in Washington (You can count on one hand the number of times McCain, Kyl, or Jeff Flake have visited Lake Havasu City in the last five years.) With her roots in Havasu, Ward should have a leg up on issues such as water policy and rural land issues, which will become even more important in the coming years. Likewise, her medical background makes her uniquely qualified to discuss national healthcare issues.

Ward certainly isn’t as polished as other congressional hopefuls, but she has the makings of a smart and capable leader who can play well with others. Ducey should pick Ward for the U.S. Senate.

— Today’s News-Herald

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