TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - One of the worst kept secrets in D.C. is finally out, kind of.
CNN is reporting Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will pick Martha McSally to serve in the U.S. Senate.
As Tucson News Now has said for more than a month, Sen. Jon Kyl was expected to resign before the new year and McSally was the most likely candidate replace him.
Kyl’s retirement became official Friday, Dec. 14, when Ducey announced he received Kyl’s resignation letter. Kyl’s last day will be Monday, Dec. 31.
Ducey has to pick another Republican by law, so a GOP member who was picked by more than 1 million Arizonans makes sense.
If Ducey selects McSally, she will only serve through 2020. Then, Arizona voters will get to decide who finishes out the final two year’s of McCain’s term.
In November, McSally lost to Kyrsten Sinema by less than 60,000 votes. It was a fierce battle for the seat held by Sen. Jeff Flake, who did not seek reelection.
A former air force colonel who was mentored by Kyl, McSally has drawn criticism from some Republicans for running a campaign that focused on her closeness to President Donald Trump and tried to portray Sinema as a radical liberal.
One of the most often-mentioned names is Ducey’s chief of staff, Kirk Adams, a onetime state lawmaker who resigned from the governor’s office on Nov. 26 and whose last day working for Ducey was Friday. Other names that have surfaced include Bill Montgomery, who leads the top prosecutorial office in Maricopa County, the state’s largest, and former Rep. Matt Salmon.
Other Republican women whose names have been floated do not have her experience running in competitive elections, especially statewide.
They include Eileen Klein, a former health care executive appointed state treasurer by Ducey last year. She did not run for re-election. Some Republicans have also speculated about an appointment for Barbara Barrett, a former Ambassador to Finland and businesswoman who unsuccessfully ran in a GOP gubernatorial primary in 1994.
Some Republicans have urged the appointment of McCain’s widow, Cindy, to the seat. Notably, Ducey did not select her in the weeks after the senator’s death, and there remains widespread animosity toward the McCain family from the GOP’s conservative base.
In a statement announcing Kyl’s resignation, Ducey said Kyl, 76, served with integrity and statesmanship.
“Senator Kyl didn’t need to return to the Senate. His legacy as one of Arizona’s most influential and important political figures was already without question. But he did return, and I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him," Ducey said.