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Arizona Gov. Ducey appoints Martha McSally to US Senate

Posted at 8:42 AM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 21:38:40-05

Just days after Sen. Jon Kyl announced his resignation, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has named his choice to fill the seat.

Martha McSally did not win the November election to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate but she will still serve there---appointed Tuesday by Governor Doug Ducey to serve in the U.S. Senate until a 2020 special election.

He says McSally's the best choice to fill the unexpired term of the late Senator John McCain.

Ducey and McSally spoke to members of the media Tuesday morning after the appointment was announced.

McSally says she's ready to put a tough campaign behind her and work with her opponent.

McSally will be sworn into the Senate after Senator Jon Kyl resigns at the end of the year. The retired Senator made it clear he would only fill John McCain's seat temporarily.

When she is sworn in is important. Governor Ducey says Democrat Krysten Sinema will be sworn in first.

“Well, of course, where you're going to follow Senate rules but I'm also going to respect the will of the voters. Senator-elect Sinema was elected to the office and she's going to be sworn in first."

That timing would give Sinema, the senior Senator, priority for better office space, better seat location in the Senate chamber and better committee assignments though the fact Sinema's party is the Senate minority will reduce some of those privileges.

The seat was first left empty in August, when Sen. John McCain lost a year-long battle with brain cancer. Ducey appointed former Sen. Kyl -- who had been working in the private sector since his retirement in 2013 -- to fill the role, though Kyl said he only considered the appointment temporary.

On Friday, Kyl made his intentions official by announcing his resignation from the Senate at the end of the year.

After Gov. Ducey's announcement Tuesday, Cindy McCain -- the late senator's wife -- tweeted a statement of support for McSally.

McSally lost a close race for Senate in Arizona last month to Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, who will begin her full, six-year term representing Arizona in the Senate on Jan. 3.

The Senate race between McSally and Sinema was aggressive but McSally says she's confident the rivals on the campaign trial can be allies for the good of Arizona.

McSally says, “The election's over and the people have spoken and I'm honored to have this appointment. And now for all of us. It's about moving forward and it's about the challenges that we have as a state, and as a country, and continuing to be a problem solving, to make a difference for the people that we represent and that's the approach that I'll take."

Democrat Dennis DeConcini represented Arizona for 18 years in the Senate. He says the fact McSally was appointed not elected should not reduce the respect she receives in the Senate.

DeConcini says, “And until recently when I left Washington from the lobbying business that's the way it was. Now it might, may be a little toxic back there now, I'm not I'm not sure from what you get in the news, but generally no. Now it does affect your seniority and the possibility of getting on better committees."

DeConcini says McSally's experience in the House should help but it will be an adjustment to move to the smaller more personal atmosphere of the Senate.

Tucsonans are mixed on whether someone who fell short in the election should reach the Senate anyway.

Dennis Evans says, “I don't think it's really that great, I think I should be an elected, they should be elected into it and not just given it by the Governor."

Sergio Rodriguez says, "I don't think she's capable of representing the citizens of the United States in a proper manner."

Robert Hymer says he disagrees with that 100 percent.

"Her border walls and everything like that. I just agree with most of her politics."

Comments on the KGUN9 Facebook page leaned against the appointment.

Ivan asked, "So what was the points of an election?"

Joshua said in part, "I think if you lost the election, that means you lost..."

Angela said, "I knew this would happen before we even voted."

But there were supporters too.

Charlotte said, "Someone must be appointed! She is most qualified!"

And Marylka said, "Thank you Governor Doug Ducey. Best choice was Martha McSally. Congratulations Martha!"