That's the result of Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's decision Tuesday to appoint McSally, the unsuccessful Republican nominee for Arizona's open Senate seat in the 2018 midterm election. She lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in what was the first victory in 30 years in a Senate race for an Arizona Democrat.
McSally will occupy the seat held by the late John McCain starting on January 1. However, she faces a bruising election roadmap if she wants to remain in the Senate long-term. McSally will have to run to retain the seat for two more years in 2020, and then again in 2022 if she wants to serve a full six-year term.
Ducey had appointed former Arizona senator Jon Kyl to the seat in September following McCain's death, but Kyl was reluctant to serve beyond the end of this year. He announced last week that he would step down on December 31. This led observers to ramp up speculation over whom Ducey might appoint: Would it be his former chief of staff, Kirk Adams? Interim state treasurer Eileen Klein?
In the end, it was the most obvious option that won out. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other national Republicans were reportedly leaning on Ducey to appoint McSally. And McSally, a former two-term congresswoman from Tucson, can claim that she has the backing of plenty of voters, judging by the million-plus people who pulled the lever for her in the Senate race.
Over the last year, she has met and listened to "countless Arizonans," McSally said in a prepared statement released by the governor's office.
"I am humbled and grateful to have this opportunity to serve and be a voice for all Arizonans. I look forward to working with Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema and getting to work from Day One," McSally said.
"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," Ducey said in the statement. "I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility and look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect Sinema to get positive things done.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.