Martha McSally named to John McCain’s Senate seat in Arizona

December 18, 2018 GMT

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday his appointment of Rep. Martha McSally to fill the Senate seat of the late John McCain.

The move puts Ms. McSally, a Republican, into the upper chamber after she lost a bitter race for the state’s other Senate seat to Democrat Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November.

Ms. McSally is expected to go to work next month as a senator for a term that ends in 2020.

She said she looked forward to working with Ms. Sinema.

“I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans,” Ms. McSally said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from day one.”


Ms. Sinema won the contest to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Mr. Ducey said Ms. McSalley was uniquely qualified for the appointment.

“All her life, Martha has put service first leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times,” he said. “She served 26 years in the military, deployed six times to the Middle East and Afghanistan, was the first woman to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron in combat, and she’s represented Southern Arizona in Congress for the past four years. 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.”

Mr. Ducey, a Republican, first appointed retired Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the seat after McCain’s death Aug. 25.

Mr. Kyl, who previously served 18 years in the Senate and became the chamber’s second-highest ranking Republican leader before retiring in 2013, committed to finishing the year. He announced last week that he would return to retirement at the end of the year.

Mr. Kyl also said Ms. McSally was agood choice.

“Because she currently represents Arizona in the US Congress, Martha McSally certainly has the knowledge and experience to represent our State in the Senate,” he said. “Moreover, she is highly energetic, smart and committed to finding practical solutions to problems facing our State and Nation. She is an excellent choice.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paid tribute Tuesday to Mr. Kyl in a speech to the Senate.

“If Jon had planned on a relaxing, undisturbed post-Senate career, then his biggest mistake was leaving a record as one of the most earnest and effective legislators this body had seen in recent memory,” he said. “Because, when the people of Arizona needed someone to step in and honor the towering legacy of our dear friend John McCain through the end of this Congress, his counterpart of 18 years was the natural choice.”

Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said he was “especially grateful for this second opportunity to work alongside such a dear friend.”