Who will succeed McCain?

With the passing of Senator John McCain, all eyes are going  to be on Arizona's Republican governor, Doug Ducey, who was a friend of McCain's, to appoint a successor.

McCain's death comes three days before a primary in Arizona, but that's not a big deal, because Ducey himself is expected to win the GOP nomination for the gubernatorial election handily, Arizona Republic reports. Farther out, the House looks more in danger than the Senate of falling into Democrat hands, according to political strategists, so again, another bullet is dodged.

But there is intense interest in a new appointee, particularly in light of McCain's tendency to declare conservative principles, yet disappoint, at voting time. It was the idiosyncracy of his being a maverick. Will it be a reliable conservative that voters expect when they pull the lever next time? Or will it be someone just as chancy as McCain?

The Wall Street Journal has this list of possibilities:

Among the names that have been mentioned recently are Barbara Barrett, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland and the wife of retired Intel Corp. Chief Executive Craig Barrett, as well as Kirk Adams, chief of staff to Mr. Ducey. A name that has been floated as a long shot is former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who was close to Mr. McCain.

Three other names have circulated: Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals and son of the team’s principal owner; Karrin Taylor Robson, who runs a land-use firm in Arizona and was appointed to the Arizona Board of Regents in 2017 by the governor; and Mr. McCain’s wife, Cindy. Her name is often mentioned, though conservatives have bristled at the prospect—a factor that could weigh on Mr. Ducey.

 

Ducey can also appoint himself, which is seen as unlikely. According to the Arizona Republic:

Ducey publicly ruled out appointing himself after the senator's glioblastoma diagnosis in July 2017. In the year since, Ducey has declined to comment on potential candidates, with his staff rebuffing questions as "disgraceful" while McCain was still serving.

My own suspicion is that the Ducey decision will come down to one of two things: either a classic reliable conservative to please Arizona's frustrated base, or ... Cindy McCain, who is generally conservative, but has some liberal tendencies, as a result of press pressure, particularly since he has a pretty strong opponent on the Democrat side in November.

Presumably, McCain wanted Cindy McCain to succeed him, and there have been some reports last May to suggest that. There has been a precedent for that, too, in the appointment of Muriel Humphrey to succeed her deceased husband, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, when he died in 1978, making it a sort of political sati in reverse. But Ducey has rebuffed that as insulting talk because McCain was not dead at the time, so that may signal he will go conservative. At the same time, Ducey was a friend of the McCains, Ducey also pressured by his primary rival, to not appoint Cindy McCain, so there are many characters in the GOP base who think he will. So it's hard to say how this will go.

Here's what will happen, though:

The press, which wants Cindy McCain appointed, the better to prevent a classic conservative to take a seat in the Senate, will play up wildly the weepy emotional factor of McCain's passing. They will lionize Cindy, and beat the drum of her virtue, the better to put pressure on Ducey to appoint her to the seat.

It's not a certainty that she would be an awful Senator if she is appointed, but on the other hand, she has made many liberal statements, so there's a significant chance she would swing to the left on critical votes, as well as fight with Trump. Ducey himself seems to be a solid conservative and will in turn be pressed by conservatives to appoint a more reliable conservative. The press will beat back with the emotional factor, and that will be the kind of pressure he is under.

How Ducey handles it is anyone's guess, so stay tuned with the rest of the Arizona Kremlinologists, watching the movements on the cactus square...

With the passing of Senator John McCain, all eyes are going  to be on Arizona's Republican governor, Doug Ducey, who was a friend of McCain's, to appoint a successor.

McCain's death comes three days before a primary in Arizona, but that's not a big deal, because Ducey himself is expected to win the GOP nomination for the gubernatorial election handily, Arizona Republic reports. Farther out, the House looks more in danger than the Senate of falling into Democrat hands, according to political strategists, so again, another bullet is dodged.

But there is intense interest in a new appointee, particularly in light of McCain's tendency to declare conservative principles, yet disappoint, at voting time. It was the idiosyncracy of his being a maverick. Will it be a reliable conservative that voters expect when they pull the lever next time? Or will it be someone just as chancy as McCain?

The Wall Street Journal has this list of possibilities:

Among the names that have been mentioned recently are Barbara Barrett, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland and the wife of retired Intel Corp. Chief Executive Craig Barrett, as well as Kirk Adams, chief of staff to Mr. Ducey. A name that has been floated as a long shot is former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who was close to Mr. McCain.

Three other names have circulated: Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals and son of the team’s principal owner; Karrin Taylor Robson, who runs a land-use firm in Arizona and was appointed to the Arizona Board of Regents in 2017 by the governor; and Mr. McCain’s wife, Cindy. Her name is often mentioned, though conservatives have bristled at the prospect—a factor that could weigh on Mr. Ducey.

 

Ducey can also appoint himself, which is seen as unlikely. According to the Arizona Republic:

Ducey publicly ruled out appointing himself after the senator's glioblastoma diagnosis in July 2017. In the year since, Ducey has declined to comment on potential candidates, with his staff rebuffing questions as "disgraceful" while McCain was still serving.

My own suspicion is that the Ducey decision will come down to one of two things: either a classic reliable conservative to please Arizona's frustrated base, or ... Cindy McCain, who is generally conservative, but has some liberal tendencies, as a result of press pressure, particularly since he has a pretty strong opponent on the Democrat side in November.

Presumably, McCain wanted Cindy McCain to succeed him, and there have been some reports last May to suggest that. There has been a precedent for that, too, in the appointment of Muriel Humphrey to succeed her deceased husband, Sen. Hubert Humphrey, when he died in 1978, making it a sort of political sati in reverse. But Ducey has rebuffed that as insulting talk because McCain was not dead at the time, so that may signal he will go conservative. At the same time, Ducey was a friend of the McCains, Ducey also pressured by his primary rival, to not appoint Cindy McCain, so there are many characters in the GOP base who think he will. So it's hard to say how this will go.

Here's what will happen, though:

The press, which wants Cindy McCain appointed, the better to prevent a classic conservative to take a seat in the Senate, will play up wildly the weepy emotional factor of McCain's passing. They will lionize Cindy, and beat the drum of her virtue, the better to put pressure on Ducey to appoint her to the seat.

It's not a certainty that she would be an awful Senator if she is appointed, but on the other hand, she has made many liberal statements, so there's a significant chance she would swing to the left on critical votes, as well as fight with Trump. Ducey himself seems to be a solid conservative and will in turn be pressed by conservatives to appoint a more reliable conservative. The press will beat back with the emotional factor, and that will be the kind of pressure he is under.

How Ducey handles it is anyone's guess, so stay tuned with the rest of the Arizona Kremlinologists, watching the movements on the cactus square...