(Bloomberg) -- Arizona’s governor said he will appoint Republican U.S. Representative Martha McSally to fill the Senate seat being vacated Dec. 31 by GOP Senator Jon Kyl, who temporarily took the post after John McCain died in August.
McSally, a blunt-talking former Air Force combat pilot, ran unsuccessfully for Arizona’s other Senate in November, losing narrowly to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. McSally is a favorite of Senate leadership including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who had urged her appointment.
"With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate," Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement Tuesday announcing the appointment.
Kyl, who was appointed to be a temporary custodian of the seat vacated by McCain, announced last week he would step down at the end of the year. McSally will serve until 2020 when there will be a special election to fill McCain’s remaining two years.
McSally said in a statement that her experience campaigning for the seat won by Sinema gives her a head start on the job.
“I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans,” she said. “I look forward to working with Senator-elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from day one.”
McSally has served in the House since 2015. There, she leads the Homeland Security Border and Maritime Security subcommittee, and has been a critic of President Donald Trump’s drive for a wall at the southern U.S. border. She did, however, campaign on a platform that largely aligned with Trump’s tax and other policies.
(Updates with McSally statement starting in fifth paragraph.)
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