By Colleen O'Connor
There is one hugely appropriate candidate for the governor of Arizona to appoint to the soon-to-be vacant seat in the U.S. Senate: Cindy McCain.
The widow of Sen. John McCain would be the perfect appointee to his old seat, which was temporarily filled by Sen. Jon Ky, who just announced his resignation effective Dec. 31.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, faces a delicate task. He is required, by law, to name a Republican to the now open seat. But because Arizona is turning increasingly Democratic, the Governor—mindful of his own reelection prospects—will need an appointee with widespread popularity.
There is intense pressure from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to appoint outgoing Rep. Martha McSally, the Republican who lost to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the race for Arizona’s other U.S. Senate seat.
However, McSally carries the baggage of having been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump. His dicey future makes her appointment a gamble.
Republicans spent millions of dollars on McSally’s closely fought election. They would like to see a return on that investment. However, rumors are that McSally is out of consideration.
Then there are the governor’s loyalists: his chief of staff and the state Treasurer. There are probably other candidates as well.
What’s the governor to do?
Simple choice. Who is non-controversial? Who has huge name recognition? Who commands great admiration for her deportment before, during, and after her marriage and widowhood? Who could be more than a place holder and run for election in her own right? And who is probably a more gifted pol than most give her credit for?
The answer to all these questions is Cindy McCain.
Ducey should visit her again. She’s still grieving, but she knows her own strength. She can handle the job. Ducey should convince her to take it.
Over the decades of U.S. history, it has been common for widows of former Senators to be appointed to fill the vacancies their husbands left—for the same reasons that Cindy McCain should fill the void.
Senator’s wives are battle tested. They provide continuity. And they are more familiar with politics—and more formidable as tacticians—than most realize.
So, Gov. Ducey, here is the answer to your dilemma: appoint Cindy McCain. The country needs her as much as Arizona does.
She would bring credit to you, her state, her country, herself and her husband’s legacy.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor
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