Sen. John McCain’s death certainly left a hole in America’s heart, but it also has left a vacant Senate seat, one that will have to be filled before the Senate resumes its work in the fall.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey is charged with the responsibility and has said that he plans to appoint someone to the seat soon after Sen. John McCain has been laid to rest, but out of respect for the family, is not entertaining any offers to fill McCain’s vacant spot in the Senate while the late senator lies in state, first in Arizona and then in the United States Capitol, before being buried later this week.
“Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived,” Ducey said in a statement to CNN and other major news networks on Sunday.
Ducey is facing re-election in November and seems conscious that his choice could have an effect on the outcome of that contest, but McCain likely left a short list of candidates to serve as his replacement — and he and Ducey did speak about the process during McCain’s year-long battle with brain cancer.
There are several obvious options. John McCain’s wife, Cindy, is a businesswoman in her own right and a well-known commodity within the Republican Party on both a national and state level. Partners are natural choices, having often been the late congressman’s closest confidant and most trusted advisers, and many, including Mary Bono, the wife of the late Sonny Bono, have gone on to successful political careers of their own.
There are also prominent Arizona Republicans who would have been candidates for McCain’s seat had he vacated it or retired earlier. Ducey’s chief of staff Kirk Adams is certainly among those options, as is Arizona Republican Karrin Taylor Robson, former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, and former U.S. Rep. John Shadegg.
Whoever is selected will serve a two-year term in the Senate before being forced to run for re-election in 2020.