Originally, Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed to the seat after McCain died in August. But the Republican lawmaker announced last week that he would step down from the post at the end of the year, giving Ducey the opportunity to pick a new person who could serve the rest of McCain's term. "All her life, Martha has put service first — leading in the toughest of fights and at the toughest of times," Ducey said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
McSally, who made history as the first woman Air Force pilot to fly in combat, is considered to be a rising star in the Republican party. She lost by a narrow margin to Sinema in the U.S. midterm election, failing in her bid to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
During the GOP primary, the congresswoman distanced herself from the McCain camp, instead aligning herself more closely to U.S. President Donald Trump and his platform. But last week, she met with the maverick's widow Cindy McCain, in an apparent effort to mend the relationship. In a tweet, she reacted to the news about McSally's appointment: "My husband’s greatest legacy was placing service to AZ & USA ahead of his own self-interest. I respect @dougducey's decision to appoint @RepMcSally to fill the remainder of his term. Arizonans will be pulling for her, hoping that she will follow his example of selfless leadership."
McSally and Sinema will now be the first two women to represent Arizona in the American Senate, making it one of the few states to be represented by a female delegation in the upper chamber. Gov. Ducey said Sinema will be sworn in first, becoming the state's senior senator.