This weekend, longtime fixture of the American political landscape John McCain died. At the time of his death, he was serving as the U.S. Senator from Arizona, and now, it’s up to the state’s Governor Doug Ducey (R) to fill the vacant seat, POLITICO explains. Among the specific requirements is that the replacement must be a Republican, since McCain was.
The replacement will serve through a special election to be held in 2020; whoever Ducey appoints is, of course, seemingly free to run in that special election and then for a full six-year term in 2022. McCain had served in the U.S. Senate for decades beginning with a victory in the 1986 elections.
As of Sunday afternoon, the individual who will fill the vacancy McCain left remains to be seen. Talk of possible replacements has included the late leader’s wife Cindy, Ducey’s Chief of Staff Kirk Adams — who’s also a former state lawmaker — and Jon Kyl, who served in the U.S. Senate through 2013. When Kyl was in Congress, he served as the second-ranking Senate Republican.
Businessperson and former gubernatorial candidate Barbara Barrett, the Arizona state board of regents’ Karrin Taylor Robson, Arizona State Treasurer Eileen Klein, and former Arizona members of the U.S. House Matt Salmon and John Shadegg have also been named as possible McCain replacements.
Despite the speculation, Ducey spokesperson Daniel Ruiz has said:
‘Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest.’
At McCain’s funeral, former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will both be delivering eulogies, at McCain’s request. (Trump’s reportedly not welcome.) The two men — one a Republican and one a Democrat — defeated McCain during the two election seasons he ran for president, in 2000 and 2008. He served alongside them throughout the modern era all the same, though.
In part, Obama commented on McCain’s death:
‘[W]e shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed. We saw our political battles, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as the stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world.’
A large array of other leaders have sought to honor McCain on the occasion of his death, too.
During an appearance on CNN this Sunday morning, McCain’s fellow U.S. Senator Jeff Flake commented:
‘I’m going to miss him… I’ve admired him… my entire life, and it’s tough to imagine the Senate without him. It’s tough to imagine politics without John McCain, but we need to go on.’
Both Flake and McCain were often at odds with the currently serving President Donald Trump, who declined to comment in honor of McCain until after he’d passed away. It was not that long ago that McCain blasted Trump for his capitulation to Russian President Vladimir Putin in the context of a meeting the two leaders had in Finland. No matter how intently Trump seeks to dismiss McCain and his allies’ criticism along those lines, it won’t suddenly dissipate.
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