Martha McSally lost this year’s Senate race in Arizona, but she could soon be a US Senator anyway. In a bit of irony following the hard-fought race for the seat of the retiring Jeff Flake, both McSally and Democrat Kirsten Sinema, the winner in last week’s election, could soon be office neighbors across the country in Washington, D.C.
The secret to McSally’s possible success lies in the fact that former Senator Jon Kyl was appointed to fill John McCain’s seat after his death last summer. Kyl, who is 76, agreed to fill McCain’s seat through the end of this year. If Kyl retires before the end of McCain’s elected term in 2022, then Arizona’s Republican governor will appoint another successor to fill the seat. If Gov. Doug Ducey needs a Republican to fill a Senate seat, what better person would there be than a popular conservative congresswoman who just received more than a million votes in a very close Senate campaign?
McSally, a 52-year-old former Air Force fighter pilot, would have to defend her seat in 2022. Given her close race against Sinema in a heavily Democratic year, the advantage of incumbency in an electoral landscape that is possibly post-Trump would make it very likely that McSally would successfully defend her seat.
Laurie Roberts at the Arizona Republic wrote Monday that Gov. Ducey should appoint McSally in an effort to “salve… the open, gaping wound that is post-election Arizona.” Roberts said that McSally has traditionally been a “more moderate voice than the one portrayed during this campaign — the one that allowed her to represent the state’s most competitive district.”
Roberts also noted that McSally has a history of being “willing to work across the political aisle.” That is a quality that is currently in short supply and is very much needed.