John McCain’s passing on Saturday has left his seat in the Senate representing the state of Arizona vacant and his wife, Cindy, is emerging as the favorite to hold it until the 2020 election.
While the late senator’s term was to run until 2023, whoever is appointed “caretaker” of the seat will have to run in the 2020 election to hold onto the position. In the meantime, the Republican party must find someone to occupy the seat for the next two years. And, as reported by The Daily Mail, Cindy McCain is part of the candidate pool to be selected as caretaker.
Cindy McCain, 64-years-old, was married to John McCain for 38 years. Her father founded a beer distributorship and she is currently acting as chairwoman. She has also been an active voice against human trafficking.
There are other members of the candidate pool that also bring strong credentials. Jon Kyl served in the Senate with McCain and was the Republican Whip previously. Former U.S. ambassador to Finland Barbara Barrett is also up for consideration. Barrett ran for governor of Arizona in 1994 but did not receive her party’s nomination.
Some other contenders for the caretaker position are Kirk Adams, the governor’s chief of staff and one-time Congressional candidate. Eileen Klein is currently the Arizona state treasurer. Sixty-eight-year-old John Shadegg, a former U.S. Representative, is also a candidate, bringing with him 16 years of experience in Congress. Matt Salmon also brings experience with his two terms in the Senate and two terms in the House of Representatives. Business leader Karrin Taylor Robson is also in contention. She was appointed to the state Board of Regents by Governor Ducey in June 2017.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will be responsible for choosing the caretaker of McCain’s Senate seat. He has already stated that he plans to wait until after the former presidential candidate’s funeral, planned for Sunday, before announcing who he has chosen.
When it comes to the Republicans backing Ducey’s appointed caretaker to be elected for the seat in 2020, much will depend on the outcome of this year’s midterm elections. November is already shaping up to be a battleground between the parties.
Arizona’s junior Senator, Jeff Flake, is retiring at the end of the year. Both he and McCain were outspoken critics of President Donald Trump, making Arizona ground zero for the divide that is deepening within the Republican party. Trump has tweeted his support for the re-election of Governor Doug Ducey, who is expected to clinch the victory with ease.