Judge Rules Arizona Sen. Martha McSally Can Hold Onto Seat Until 2020 Election

By Al Macias
Published: Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 5:46pm
Updated: Friday, June 28, 2019 - 11:25am
Martha McSally

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally will not have to stand for another election before next year’s general election. A federal judge ruled Thursday afternoon that McSally can hold onto the seat she was appointed to.

McSally was appointed to fill John McCain's Senate seat after he died in August. Opponents of the appointment claimed that the U.S. Constitution requires there be a special election within a year — if not sooner — when there is a vacancy in a Senate seat.

In her ruling Judge Diane Humetewa rejected those arguments. She acknowledged that the Constitution allows a governor to fill a Senate seat on a "temporary'" basis. Twenty-seven months will have elapsed between McCain's death last August and the next regular election in 2020.

But the judge said there is nothing in the law that says 27 months is too long for a temporary appointment. And Humetewa said that allowing Gov. Doug Ducey’s appointment of McSally does not infringe on the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. which gives voters the right to choose their own senators.