Experts Say Ducey Faces ‘Unenviable’ Task In Picking McCain Replacement

By Renata Clo

WASHINGTON – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has steadfastly refused to discuss a replacement for Sen. John McCain until after the senator’s funeral, but political consultants say the governor faces an “unenviable” task when he does name an appointee.

McCain, who died Saturday after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, was described by political experts this weekend as “Arizona’s greatest face” and a “remarkably iconic figure.” While several names have been talked about in political circles, analysts say they all have big shoes to fill.

“John McCain changes the rules on an appointment because of who he was,” political consultant Jason Rose said. “The governor … needs to appoint someone with the seriousness and stature to respect the legacy of Senator McCain.”

And it’s not just McCain, another expert said, but a line of lawmakers who have played outsized roles in the Senate.

Under Arizona law, if there is a vacancy in one of the state’s two Senate seats, the governor is required to name a replacement of the same party as the senator who held the seat previously.

If the vacancy occurs more than 150 days before the primary, the seat comes up for election in the next general election. For a vacancy that occurs less than 150 days before the primary, the replacement senator holds the seat until the second general election after the appointment.

With Arizona’s primary this Tuesday, that means whoever is appointed to take McCain’s seat will hold it until 2020, when there will be an election to fill out the remaining two years in the current term. And the new senator must be a Republican.

After that, it’s anybody’s guess. And Ducey’s not talking.

The governor’s office did not immediately return requests for comment Sunday, but published reports said there will be no announcement of a replacement until after McCain’s burial at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.

“Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest,” senior adviser Daniel Ruiz II said, according to a statement in azcentral.com. “Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived.”

Ducey also declined to discuss potential replacements while the senator was still alive. When news reports in May suggested that a meeting between Ducey and McCain and his family may have involved talks on a replacement, the governor’s spokesman at the time called such reports “disgraceful” and said Ducey would not “comment on any aspect” of such stories.

When Ducey does make a choice, it would be the first time in the state’s history that a Senate seat has been filled by the governor, according to a list on the Senate’s web page.

Despite Ducey’s refusal to discuss names, many have been mentioned among politics watchers.

Rose said McCain’s widow, Cindy, and his close friend and CEO of Plaza Cos., Sharon Harper, have been mentioned as possible appointees, along with former Sen. Jon Kyl and former Rep. Matt Salmon. Well-known business people, such as Barbara Barrett, Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, have also been discussed, Rose said.

Sean Noble, a partner in the lobbying firm Compass Strategies, said that any politician who comes next will be standing on the shoulders of some great Arizona men and women who preceded McCain.

“When you look at the string of Arizona senators and members of Congress that we’ve had, going from Carl Hayden to Barry Goldwater to Dennis Deconcini to McCain,” Noble said. “I mean, it’s a pretty remarkable record.”

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11 Comments

  1. If Ducey appoints Cindy McCain or one of his cronies he will not get my vote. I’ll write someone in!

  2. want to see what’s coming to this nations government system, just look at what is occurring in China in it’s methods of control of the masses – coming our way just over the horizon – it is the coming ‘global system’

  3. to think Ducey won’t select McCain as the choice are simply not seeing reality, he didn’t retire to keep the office after death in the family – AceyDucey should or will be remembered to be dupieDucey the sacrifice fly out of office and Arizona politics forever having filled his role… after which Arizona will be screwed forever for all intent and purpose – the government of this nation we all have known won’t be the same anymore.

  4. Ducey can get three picks if he chooses McSally:
    1. pick McSally to replace McCain for 2 years seat.
    2. then choose McSally’s congress seat replacement
    3. Then if McSally wins her senate election for Flakes seat, and resigns McCain’s 2 year seat, to take that 6 year flakes senate seat, Ducey can choose her replacement for McCainls old 2 year seat.
    (at this point Ducey could appoint himself, and who would be governor ? Reagan or whoever wins soon.

    Wow, 3 bites at the apple for Ducey. Will he do that ?

  5. Whoever Governor Ducey appoints you can be sure it will be someone who advances his goal to become President, his main ambition in life. As we know, Senator Flake has expressed an interest in challenging President Trump in the primary for 2020 but it is much more likely Ducey will be the one to challenge Trump because even Arizona Republicans have completely rejected Flake as a serious candidate for anything. It is also notable that Flake has stopped his almost daily threats to challenge Trump in 2020. Therefore, if the polls still show Ducey losing to a Democrat in November, it is a highly likely he will appoint himself in an effort to set himself up for a primary challenge to Trump. If Ducey does not appoint himself, you can bet he will appoint someone who will support his challenge to Trump in 2020. We will know in a few days who Ducey picks and the motivation for his pick will also be made clear; and, you can be sure it will be in the best interest of Governor Ducey not Arizona.

    • Those a$$ clowns that are running on the democrats ticket for governor don’t stand a chance. Nuff said.

  6. “The governor … needs to appoint someone with the seriousness and stature to respect the legacy of Senator McCain.”
    Really? McCain hasn’t represented his constituents since he got sick. He has been AWOL and did not do the right thing by resigning.

  7. My prediction.
    Ducey loses his Primary – Cindy McCain
    Ducey wins his Primary, McSally loses her Primary – McSally
    Ducet wins his Primary, McSally wins her Primary – A Ducey Croney

    • If Ducey loses his primary you can bet it’s going to be him and not Cindy McCain. He’s resign and we’l lbe stuck with Michelle Regan as Governor until November

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