Republican Martha McSally named senator from Arizona

In a fascinating twist, Republican Rep. Martha McSally was officially named Arizona’s newest senator after losing a race for the state’s other Senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in November. McSally will take over the seat vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl, who was previously nominated to serve part of the remaining term of the late Sen. John McCain.

Kyl recently announced he would be stepping down from the Senate seat on Dec. 31, prompting questions about who would choose Governor Doug Ducey to replace him.

McSally – the first female fighter pilot to fly in combat and one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s top recruits – had long been seen as a key contender for the seat, although a post-election memo that his campaign had compiled more recently left his chances in doubt. As Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post reportedthe memo sought to attribute some of his loss to Sinema to a host of factors, including voter antagonism toward President Donald Trump, and was not particularly well received by some Republicans in the state.

Additionally, McSally saw a backlash in the state’s Republican primary, when she was simultaneously called out for distancing herself from McCain by family members while also being criticized for being too much like him. by party Republicans who are more to the right. A longtime moderate, McSally was seen as twisting her stance on issues such as protecting DREAMers and a border wall, in order to appeal to a more conservative base.

McSally, however, appears to have weathered any residual controversy to secure the nomination.

The two-term congressman, who currently represents Arizona’s second congressional district, will hold the Senate seat until 2020, when voters will decide which candidate they would like to stay on for the final two years of the term. by McCain.

“I am honored and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans,” she said in a statement, obtained by the Arizona Republic. “I look forward to working with Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting down to business from day one.”

McSally marks the second historic senator the state will see in 2019. Prior to this year, Arizona had never had a female senator, despite strong representation in her state legislature.

From next year, there will be two.