Phoenix, AZ- Recently re-elected Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey (R-AZ), told members of the press on Friday that he would not rule out Jeff Flake (R-AZ) as a possible successor to current stand-in Senator, John Kyl (R-AZ), who took over the Senate seat of John McCain (R-AZ), who passed away earlier this year after a battle with a brain tumor.
“I am aware that Senator Flake chose not to run for re-election this term because of the political climate,” the Governor said from the steps of the capitol building. “That being said, political winds have a tendency to change directions without warning. Ideally, I’d love to go with Martha (McSally (R-AZ)), but after her recent defeat, I think that it would be irresponsible not to at least keep one “moderate” candidate on standby, just in case the winds shift towards pragmatism and bipartisanship. According to Jon (Kyl), he plans on stepping down after the 2019 congressional term, so we’ve got some time before we have to make that decision.”
Flake, who has previously hinted at a possible bid for the Presidency in 2020, was a member of the House of Representative from 2001-2013, and was elected to the Senate in 2012, to fill the seat of retiring Senate Majority Whip Jon Kyl. As Senator, Flake was a member of a bipartisan group known as the “Gang of Eight,” who helped push an immigration reform bill through the Senate in 2013. After the 2016 election, Flake became a fierce and vocal critic of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party at large, announcing in late 2017 that he would not seek a second term.
McSally, who served in the United States Air Force (USAF) from 1988-2010 (retired with the rank of Colonel), is one of the most decorated, highest ranking female pilots in the history of the USAF. Not only was she the first American woman to fly in combat, she was the first female Commander of a USAF fighter squadron. She represented the 2nd congressional district of Arizona in the United States House of Representatives after election victories in 2014 and 2016, and was the first female Republican representative in the state’s history. While initially billed as a moderate during her two terms in the House of Representatives, McSally was forced to run much further to the right in order to stave off two extremist candidates, State Senator Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
On Tuesday, McSally announced that she had conceded victory to her opponent, Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), who will become the first female to represent Arizona in the Senate, as well as the first openly bisexual member to serve in the Senate.