Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint Rep. Martha McSally to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat.
McSally will succeed Sen. Jon Kyl, the longtime lawmaker who rejoined the Senate for only a few months following McCain’s death in August. McSally, a 52-year-old representative, will serve with Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the next Congress. Sinema defeated McSally in the race for retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat in November.
“I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans,” McSally said in a statement Tuesday. “I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from day one.”
The Republican will have to run in a special election in 2020. Arizona will also hold an election for the seat in 2022, when McCain’s original term ends. The state is considered one of Democrats’ best pickup opportunities in 2020.
Some Republicans reportedly had concerns about McSally’s ability to win statewide after her loss last month. Sinema, a U.S. representative, defeated her GOP opponent by about 2.5 percentage points in a state that has become increasingly purple. Trump carried Arizona in 2016, but only by around 3 percentage points.
Sinema was one of only two Democrats to flip a GOP-held seat in this year’s midterms. Republicans gained two net seats in the elections, and will hold a 53-47 Senate majority in January.
McSally has represented Arizona in the House since 2015. While she previously cast herself as a more center-right lawmaker, the representative had to take on a more pro-Trump stance to get through a bruising GOP Senate primary.
She appeared to have trouble courting the state’s younger and more diverse voters in the general election.