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Federal judge rules for Gov. Ducey in US Senate election lawsuit

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – A federal judge dismissed a months-old lawsuit that would have forced Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to pull together a special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Martha McSally.

The lawsuit, filed in November by a small group of voters, said Ducey ignored the 17th Amendment in appointing McSally instead of holding an election before 2020 to fill the vacancy created by John McCain’s death.

McCain died in August 2018.

U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa knocked down all the challenges in a decision filed late Thursday.

The five plaintiffs – two Democrats, a Republican, an independent and a libertarian – said in court documents, “…the Legislature of any State may empower the executive thereto make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.”

Humetewa’s ruling said Ducey followed the U.S. Constitution’s provisions allowing state Legislatures to decide how to temporarily fill Senate vacancies.

Ducey appointed McSally in December after his initial choice, Sen. Jon Kyl, resigned.

Earlier this week, President Donald Trump endorsed McSally in her bid to retain the seat.

She announced her intention to run in March.

McSally, a former Air Force pilot, will likely face former astronaut and Navy pilot Mark Kelly in the general election. No other candidates have entered either primary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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