My Theory: Arizona’s U.S. Senate for 2020
Veteran U.S. Senator and former Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl has made an announcement that he will resign from the U.S. Senate on 31 Dec 2018 at 11:59 PM. He was appointed by Republican Governor Doug Ducey to the vacant seat, which was previously occupied by the late John McCain for 31 years until his death in August 2018. Senator Kyl pledged that he would serve in the 115th U.S. Congress until the end of this year. Therefore, Governor Ducey will have to appoint someone else to McCain’s old seat. The second appointee of McCain’s Republican Party will serve for almost two years until a new Senator is elected in the special election in November 2020 to finish McCain’s final two-year remaining term until January 2023.
According to many sources, outgoing Republican U.S. Representative Martha McSally, who narrowly lost to Democratic Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema for the other seat last month, is one of the three candidates on the short list for Governor Ducey to appoint to McCain’s old seat. Ducey’s former chief of staff and former Arizona State House Speaker Kirk Adams and former Governor Jan Brewer’s chief of state and current Arizona State Treasurer Eileen Klein are the two others. Before Governor Ducey makes the official announcement of the U.S. Senate appointment later this week, I want to express and share my thoughts about this.
I would prefer Governor Ducey to appoint someone else, not Martha McSally, to McCain’s old seat. Why? I realize that Martha is clearly a flawed candidate following her defeat to Kyrsten Sinema for the open seat (currently occupied by retiring one-term Republican Senator Jeff Flake). Let’s look at the examples of the three close races:
- Florida (2018): On the Election Day, term-limited Governor Rick Scott was declared as a winner, successfully unseating 76-year-old three-term incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Rick led Bill by more than 50K votes on that night. Somehow, next three days, Rick’s lead was blatantly shrinking to about 12K votes! Rick was so furious about the potential voting fraud, so he aggressively fought very hard against the voting fraud through his lawyers. Under Florida’s law, when the margin is under 0.5%, the machine recount is mandatory. The manual recount is mandatory for any margin under 0.25%. The manual recount confirmed that Rick Scott was a winner with a lead of a little more 10K votes over Bill Nelson.
- Georgia (2018): In the Gubernatorial race, Republican Brian Kemp was leading Democrat Stacey Abrams by about 75K votes on the Election Day; however, this race remained uncalled for about a week. The absentee and provisional ballots came in to be continued counting. Following the Election Day, Stacey aggressively fought for a recount or runoff election for almost two weeks until she called it off. While she firmly refused to concede, she acknowledged that she trailed Brian by about 55K votes and could not win this race. Stacey is a very tough woman fighting for the voting rights, although I don’t agree with her on the election and some other progressive issues. At the same time, Brian Kemp was also very aggressive to fight very hard against the voting fraud and abuses before he prevailed winning the gubernatorial open seat.
- Mississippi (2014): Four years ago, in the U.S. Senate race, 42-year-old far-right conservative state senator Chris McDaniel narrowly defeated 77-year-old six-term incumbent Senator Thad Cochran in the Republican primary election; however, neither received more than 50% of the votes. McDaniel and Cochran advanced to the runoff election. Cochran and his allies hired somebody to recruit the African-American Democrats to vote for him to defeat McDaniel. Cochran barely survived when he narrowly defeated McDaniel by only 2% (51–49) in the runoff election. Afterward, McDaniel firmly refused to concede because he knew something wrong with the voting fraud and abuses. McDaniel was very furious and aggressive to fight very hard against the voting fraud but unfortunately he lost his case that his campaign’s request for access to poll books without voters’ birthdates blacked out was rejected by Mississippi State Supreme Court.
Rick Scott, Brian Kemp, Stacey Abrams and Chris McDaniel are in common for one thing: tough, aggressive and motivated to challenge the voting issues! From the Election Day, they firmly refused to stay silent while the absentee and/or provisional ballots were continuously counting for the few next days within one week. I like that way. If I were them, I would do the same thing when I suspect something wrong with the votes, especially in the uncalled ‘close’ race.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has strongly supported Martha McSally. I agree with Leader McConnell that the Senate Republican Caucus needs more women. However, in truth, I must agree with Arizona’s state Republicans within Governor Ducey’s circle that they are frustrated with Martha’s lacks of aggressiveness and enthusiasm to fight against the potential voting fraud. Unlike Rick Scott of Florida and Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Martha McSally is extremely very soft and laid-back and doesn’t have much enthusiasm of running her campaign and fighting against the voting issues.
On the Election Day, Martha was leading Kyrsten by about 20K votes. I suspected that Martha remained silent and didn’t seem wanting to fight against the potential voting fraud when the voting emergency came up at the last minute on the Election Day. Almost one week later, Martha’s lead was blatantly collapsed into the deficit of more than 50K votes. While the four county Republican Party groups filed a lawsuit concerning the voting fraud that led cheating in favor for the Democratic nominee (Sinema), Martha didn’t seem care about this race and simply made a video of her concession on 12 Nov 2018. With that, Kyrsten ended up winning the open seat, flipping from Republican to Democratic for the first time in 30 years. Unbelievable!
Also, more than that, I agreed with the Republican strategists that Martha lacked her aggressiveness to seize on the opposition research about Kyrsten Sinema’s pasts to brand her as an extremist. The staffs on both National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and McConnell-allied Senate Leadership Fund teams had done a lot of research to brand Kyrsten as the Prada Socialist, protester against the military wars, and lawyer representing the criminal terrorists. Martha and her campaign only did a little thing to research about Kyrsten as a protester against the military wars. That was not enough. Nothing worked at all.
That was why I was extremely disappointed in Martha McSally for her lacks of enthusiasm, aggressiveness and toughness to fight against the voting fraud and seize on the opposition research about her Democratic rival’s pasts. Therefore, has Martha running again in 2020 or 2022, I will never endorse her again because she will most likely lose to a generic Democratic candidate again. As Arizona is getting more purple, the 2020 race could be tougher and worse for Martha than 2018. She is not worth it! Unless Governor Ducey appoints the late John McCain’s daughter Meghan or widow Cindy to his old seat, I stay neutral until I find and endorse the best-qualified candidate for this seat in 2020. Meghan or Cindy will have my full endorsement if she chooses to run in 2020 and again in 2022. Let’s wait and see what happens.
As recalled back in August 2018, I was troubled by Martha’s actions that she refused to mention the late senator’s name during President Donald Trump’s signing of the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2019. While campaigning, something bothered me a lot that she appeared to be an ally of President Trump, instead of showing her real political views as the moderate Republican. Both factors are among the reasons for her defeat to Kyrsten.
As for Kyrsten Sinema, the centrist Democrat has voted about 62% with President Trump. That was why a number of Arizona’s local newspapers had endorsed Krysten over Martha, citing her stronger bipartisanship on many issues than Martha. That was how Kyrsten narrowly won the open seat. I realize that I should have endorsed Kyrsten over Martha in the first place. If Kyrsten remains as the centrist Democrat like myself in the U.S. Senate, I likely will endorse her for her re-election in 2024.
Remember, Senate Leader McConnell and national Republicans cannot force Governor Ducey to appoint Martha McSally to McCain’s old seat. I strongly believe that only Governor Ducey and/or his circle can decide to choose the right, strong and best-qualified candidate to be appointed to McCain’s old seat. The Republican appointed candidate should be strong enough to prevail his or her first election to finish McCain’s remaining term in 2020 and re-election for the first full six-year term in 2022. Martha McSally is NOT that candidate in my opinion, citing lacks of her enthusiasm, aggressiveness and toughness to challenge the voting issues and seize on the opposition research about her Democratic rival’s pasts.
Good Luck to Governor Ducey for his biggest decision to appoint the right, strong and best-qualified candidate to the late John McCain’s old seat!