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Gov. Ducey ‘to get to work’ on replacement after McCain laid to rest

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is set with the task of naming U.S. Sen. John McCain’s replacement following his death on Saturday.

While there have been talks of potential candidates, Ducey is not ready to name a successor until after the senator is properly memorialized.

“John McCain’s probably the only politician that in a week of an election could get us all to forget about the election and to focus on him and that’s what I’m going to do as the chief executive of the state,” Ducey told Mac & Gaydos on KTAR News 92.3 FM Monday.

“As Arizona’s governor, I’m going to be responsible for how John McCain is honored here at the state level. This week is not going to be about the controversies, it’s going to be about John McCain.”

McCain, who died Saturday at 81 after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, was in his sixth term in the Senate.

But while Ducey thinks McCain would appreciate the notion, he knows that the late senator would also remind him of his duties as governor.

“We believe he would certainly want what is going to happen in terms of the honor that is also going to be bestowed on him,” Ducey said. “But he would also say ‘we have a job to do and you are in an election cycle.’

“We’re going to take the appropriate amount of time this week and make certain that Arizona does its job.”

This is the first time in Arizona history a governor has needed to appoint a U.S. Senator.

Among the names being floated as potential successors are state political stalwarts Jon Kyl, who was McCain’s U.S. Senate partner from 1995 to 2013, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg.

Other candidates who have been mentioned in local and national media reports include former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Barbara Barrett, Arizona Treasurer Eileen Klein, Ducey Chief of Staff Kirk Adams and Cindy McCain.

The Wall Street Journal also speculated that Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill and Karrin Taylor Robson, a Ducey appointee to the Arizona Board of Regents, could be in the mix.

Bidwill responded to the rumor, saying he wasn’t sure where the speculation came from and that it was not the time to focus on a successor.

The only thing known for sure is that the replacement will be from McCain’s party, as required by state law, with a decision expected to be made following McCain being laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

“The eyes of the world and the country are going to be on our state on Wednesday and Thursday and I think everyone knows John McCain,” Ducey said. “But they’re going to know even more about him and the values he held dear and how they were communicated. Those are things that are synonymous with the state of Arizona and I’m very proud of that.

“This is Arizona’s favorite adopted son.”

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