Tim Steller considers replacements in If John McCain retires, 12 who could succeed him.
… McCain’s diagnosis with an aggressive brain cancer makes it very likely he will not finish his term.
If not, what happens? Actually, it’s pretty simple. Gov. Doug Ducey appoints a replacement, who by law must be a Republican, like McCain. The appointee then must stand for election at the next general election.
If McCain were to retire in the next year, then whoever Ducey appoints will have to run in November 2018.
Really, that system is simple. What’s more complicated is thinking through who Ducey might choose to replace McCain. This is something that’s been idly discussed since Nov. 8, but now those discussions are much more urgent.
I’ll highlight some of the possible picks.
Rep. Martha McSally — This possibility deserves a little deeper reflection because she is ours, after all.
Cons: McSally represents a swing district, which means it will be harder for Republicans to retain the seat if she leaves for the Senate. Also, she’s from Southern Arizona and therefore a harder sell in Maricopa County. Finally, she’s a moderate compared to the other possible candidates.
Pros: McSally is a former military aviator, like McCain. She is a woman, of course, and she has shown a strong ability to raise money. Also, she might lose anyway next year, so why not appoint her? (See above.)
She’s “a moderate”? Judging from her voting record, I’ll have to disagree. There are Republicans who actually pay attention to their constituents and vote correspondingly. McSally is not one of those reps. The ranks #12 out of the House in voting more in line with Trump’s positions than would be predicted by the makeup of CD2 voters. That’s because CD2 is a competitive district but McSally votes 97.4% of the time with Trump.
But I must allow Steller’s qualification: “compared to the other possible candidates” – and those are ugly possibilities indeed. Trent Franks?
Rep. Trent Franks — The Glendale Republican is perhaps the favorite Arizona congressman among evangelical Christian conservatives. Ducey would endlessly please the Center for Arizona Policy and its supporters if he picked Franks.
Debbie “voucher lady” Lesko?
Sen. Debbie Lesko — A leader of the state Senate, Lesko famously pushed for increasing the school voucher program last year and has been the state chairman for the Arizona Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a group loved by Arizona conservatives and hated by Democrats.
And Ducey could appoint himself.
This is, to paraphrase another politician, a basket of lamentables.