The death of Senator John McCain over the weekend has begotten a whirlwind of rumor over who will be his replacement. Under current law, Governor Doug Ducey has the power to appoint a successor.
Yesterday, the big scuttlebutt was that Cindy McCain, widow of the deceased senator, was high in the running to replace McCain. Though Mrs. McCain has never served in elected office, there is a tradition in American politics were spouses are sometimes appointed to the seats of their deceased loves.
An article from Politico this morning is painting a different picture over whom Gov. Ducey will appoint to succeed McCain. It would appear that Ducey is leaning against Cindy McCain, and is more willing to pick someone whom Trump will be pleased with. From the report:
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s decision to replace the late John McCain is as much about his own political future as it is about filling the seat of the six-term senator and decorated war hero.
Republicans with knowledge of the governor’s thinking say he’ll have to remain deferential to Trump and the White House while also taking care not to alienate a statewide electorate ahead of a tough reelection fight in November.
The Arizona governor has grown closer to the White House since cautiously embracing the president in 2016, but can’t risk alienating moderate voters https://t.co/DBhpoh33hQ
— POLITICO (@politico) August 28, 2018
It makes sense for Ducey to want to please President Trump with his pick. As the report states, the President and the Governor have become close recently, and have “come to view each other as, if not friends, then allies.” President Trump has also endorsed Ducey in his bid to keep the Republican nomination:
Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona is doing a great job. It would be really nice to show your support tomorrow by voting for him in Tuesdays Primary. Doug is strong on Crime, the Border, and our Second Amendment. Loves our Military & our Vets. He has my full and complete Endorsement.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 27, 2018
Now, if I had to take a wild guess, I’d say that Trump isn’t too keen on the idea of Cindy McCain taking her husband’s seat. Trump and the later Senator had a contentious relationship, to say the least.
Trump is also a president who is well attuned to the demands of his base. Though not scientific, the reader response we received on our Cindy McCain story was overwhelmingly negative. The Political Insider audience largely consists of the President’s supporters. Just a cursory glancearound the internet at other right-of-center sites reveals a lot of dissent to the idea of Cindy McCain getting the appointment.
So, time for a little syllogism. First, Trump and his base don’t want another McCain to represent Arizona. Second, Governor Ducey wants to maintain Trump’s approval. Therefore, he won’t appoint Cindy McCain.
Other names floating around for the nomination include Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, former Sen. Jon Kyl, and former Representative Matt Salmon.