Arizona, national lawmakers react to McSally appointment to US Senate

Dec 18, 2018, 9:49 AM | Updated: 12:43 pm
U.S. Rep Martha McSally, R-Ariz., goes over the rules in a television studio prior to a televised d...

U.S. Rep Martha McSally, R-Ariz., goes over the rules in a television studio prior to a televised debate with U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Phoenix. Both ladies are seeking to fill the seat of U.S. Sen. Jake Flake, R-Ariz., who is retiring. The Arizona Senate contest is one of the most closely-watched in the nation. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — After narrowly losing an election to the U.S. Senate in November, outgoing U.S. Rep. Martha McSally will get to serve in the Senate anyway.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that McSally would succeed outgoing U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, who announced last week that he would step down on Dec. 31.

The pick by Ducey was not much of a surprise — McSally’s name had been floated as a possible replacement for Kyl since he was appointed to the seat formerly held by the late John McCain — but it still garnered a lot of reaction from state and national lawmakers.

Ducey said in a statement that McSally is “uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate.

“I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility and look forward to working with her and Sen.-elect (Kyrsten) Sinema to get positive things done.”

President Donald Trump was quiet on social media following the news of McSally’s appointment, but White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders opened her press briefing with praise of the Arizona Republican.

Vice President Mike Pence also congratulated McSally. “Martha served our Nation (sic) proudly in the military & in the Congress.”

Outgoing U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, whose seat was lost by McSally in the November election, congratulated her on the appointment.

Cindy McCain, McCain’s widow, put out a lukewarm statement about McSally, whom she had butted heads with over the representative’s lack of public praise for a defense bill named after her husband.

Democrat U.S. Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick, who won McSally’s House seat in the November election, congratulated her predecessor.

Former Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward also congratulated McSally on the news. The two had run in a hotly contested Republican primary for Flake’s seat. Ward is seeking to get elected as Arizona GOP chair.

U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, whom McSally served alongside in the House, called her a “good leader” who will “do a terrific job representing the interests of our state.”

U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, who many believe will run in a 2020 special election to fill the remainder of McCain’s seat, offered scathing criticism of Ducey, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and McSally in a Tuesday statement.

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Arizona, national lawmakers react to McSally appointment to US Senate