by Daveda Gruber:
John McCain’s death leaves a vacancy for his Senate seat. Doug Ducey (R), Arizona’s governor, will appoint a replacement for McCain’s seat. It will not be up for election again until November 2020.
McCain’s replacement in a closely divided Senate will be a Republican, for now.
Under Arizona law, Ducey must appoint someone in the same political party as the vacating Senator. That means McCain’s seat must be filled by a Republican.
Ducey has said he won’t consider appointing politicians who lobbied for McCain’s seat prematurely.
He said, “To the politicians out there that have been openly lobbying for this position, they’ve basically disqualified themselves by showing their true character.”
Republican consultant Sean Noble says U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, former Rep. John Shadegg and former Rep. Matt Salmon are among the possible contenders for the late John McCain’s seat. Republican strategists and donors have also discussed former Sen. Jon Kyl and McCain’s wife, Cindy, as possible successors.
Ducey is up for reelection in November. His re-election is not as competitive as some of the other governor battles.
On Tuesday Democratic voters will pick Ducey’s challenger. Arizona Republicans will vote in the primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake. Yes, that seat.
If McCain had left office before May 30, there would have been a special election for his seat sometime this year. That would have meant that Republicans would be defending two Senate seats in one state.
Republicans are trying to hold onto the seat left open by Jeff Flake. Democrats will be fighting for that seat. Democrats see Flake’s seat as one of three to four narrow pathways to help them take the majority in the Senate in November’s midterm elections.
Flake’s seat will be in play in November. It does look like McCain’s is not.
There is nothing in the state Constitution that allows for a special election after the May 30 filing deadline.
Election officials that there was the possibility of a legal battle to try to hold a special election in 2018 for McCain’s seat, but candidates have to file after that May 30 deadline.
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is a Republican. Her election services director, Eric Spencer said, “If there was a vacancy today and we made a decision on ‘yes, call a special election’ or ‘no, [don’t] call a special election’ . . . there is a 99.9 percent chance that litigation would ensue.”
That fell closer to May. A federal election is just months away. No matter what happens to McCain’s seat in the coming days or weeks or months, it seems very probable that it won’t be on the ballot again until 2020.
That’s how the law works people.