‘I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans…’
(AFP) Arizona’s governor on Tuesday appointed Republican Martha McSally to fill the state’s US Senate seat being vacated at year’s end, shortly after the retired fighter pilot lost her own close Senate race.
Governor Doug Ducey announced that McSally will replace Jon Kyl, who had been temporarily appointed to fill the seat long held by senator John McCain who died of cancer in August.
The pick revives McSally’s political fortunes just six weeks after she narrowly lost her Senate race to Democratic rival Kyrsten Sinema.
Arizona, which had never elected a woman to the Senate before Sinema’s victory, will suddenly be represented by two female senators.
The appointment will also boost the number of women in the Senate to a new record 25 out of 100 members when the new Congress is sworn in on January 3.
McSally, 52, said she “learned a lot” during her recent year-long campaign that saw her criss-cross the state speaking with voters.
She proclaimed herself a supporter of Donald Trump and hit the campaign trail in Arizona this year with the president, although she did not tie herself as closely as some other successful Republican candidates did.
McSally became the Republican nominee for the seat after two conservative candidates, Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio, split the pro-Trump/conservative vote in the primary.
Despite losing the election, McSally will now join Sinema again in Washington.
Both women are current members of the House of Representatives.
“I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans. I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from day one,” she said in a statement.
McSally is a 26-year military veteran and the first American woman to fly in combat.
“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the US Senate,” Ducey said.
Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.