Who will fill John McCain's Senate seat?

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is charged with filling the Senate seat vacated by John McCain. CNN's Miguel Marquez looks at who is in the running to replace the late senator.

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 12:16 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2018 12:29 PM

As the nation mourns the death of John McCain, Arizona's Republican governor must soon decide who will replace him in the Senate.

Under Arizona law, it's up to Gov. Doug Ducey to fill Senate vacancies until a special election is held in 2020. He said in a statement that he would not name a successor until after McCain was buried later this week.

"Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived," Ducey said in the statement.

In the year since McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, Ducey -- who faces a tough re-election race this year -- has refused to talk about who he might appoint to the seat.

Now required to fill the vacancy, Ducey faces major questions that could steer his decision. Among them: Will he seek a placeholder who won't run for re-election in 2020? And did McCain indicate who he'd like to fill the job?

Ducey must pick a member of the same political party as McCain, which means the seat will remain in GOP hands.

The governor has said he will not appoint himself.

Asked about potential McCain replacements, three Arizona Republicans pointed to Ducey's chief of staff, Kirk Adams, as a leading potential choice.

Adams, a 45-year-old former state House speaker and congressional candidate, could run for re-election himself. Or he could play a role similar to former Florida Sen. George LeMieux -- who then-Gov. Charlie Crist appointed, only for LeMieux to step aside two years later when Crist ran for the Senate seat -- if Ducey wants to run for the Senate seat in 2020.

Republicans also pointed to Karrin Taylor Robson, an Arizona Board of Regents member and real estate developer, who is well-liked by the GOP donor community, and Eileen Klein, a chief of staff for former Gov. Jan Brewer who Ducey appointed state treasurer in April.

Another option Arizona Republicans raised includes Cindy McCain, John McCain's wife, who is also chairwoman of her family's beer distribution business and an advocate against human trafficking who has filled in for her husband at public events at times after his diagnosis.

Ducey could also consider former Sen. Jon Kyl, whom he has called a mentor, and former Reps. John Shadegg and Matt Salmon, who has lobbied for Arizona State University since retiring from Congress after the 2016 election.

Because the vacancy occurred after the state's cut-off date of May 30, the special election will take place in 2020, rather than 2018.

The winner of the special election will hold the seat for the remaining two years of McCain's term. Then, in 2022, the seat will be on the ballot for a full six-year term.

The races are likely to be highly competitive. Arizona, once a ruby-red Republican stronghold, has moved leftward in recent years. The state's race this year to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake is one of the nation's marquee contests and is crucial to determining which party controls the Senate.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 116617

Reported Deaths: 3283
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7987178
DeSoto713479
Harrison527284
Jackson462285
Rankin398286
Madison383794
Lee360080
Forrest306978
Jones295784
Washington259299
Lafayette251343
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Lamar227138
Oktibbeha202854
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Neshoba1854111
Lowndes180262
Panola170240
Leflore168787
Sunflower163449
Warren155156
Monroe152173
Pontotoc147920
Marshall145329
Lincoln141157
Pike139256
Copiah138136
Scott125729
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Yazoo122634
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Union119225
Tate117739
Leake115242
Holmes114960
Itawamba114825
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Adams108944
Prentiss106920
Wayne102022
Alcorn101112
George99919
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Marion95443
Tippah91323
Newton86927
Chickasaw85726
Hancock85028
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84421
Tishomingo81641
Attala79726
Clarke76151
Clay70021
Jasper69117
Walthall64027
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59917
Smith59616
Montgomery55223
Yalobusha54914
Claiborne53816
Tunica53517
Lawrence52514
Perry49823
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47714
Humphreys44916
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41211
Webster37613
Benton3456
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32715
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27710
Franklin2463
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
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