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Sinema defeats McSally in Arizona Senate race

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema will win Arizona's US Senate race, defeating Republican Rep. Martha McSally and flipping a seat that had been in GOP hands for 24 years.

Posted: Nov 13, 2018 5:34 PM
Updated: Nov 13, 2018 5:34 PM

The image was decidedly odd -- and sort of nice.

Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally, curled up on the couch with her dog, announcing via a video on Twitter that she had conceded the state's Senate race to fellow Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat.

"I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate," said McSally of Sinema. "I am convinced Arizona is the best state in the country and our best days are still yet to come."

It was a strikingly different tone than President Donald Trump took toward the race in a tweet over the weekend.

"Just out — in Arizona, SIGNATURES DON'T MATCH. Electoral corruption - Call for a new Election? We must protect our Democracy!," Trump tweeted, despite zero actual evidence of election fraud or even the allegation of the fraud. And a very different approach than that of the Senate Republican campaign arm, which emailed reporters after the election suggesting that election officials in Maricopa County (Phoenix) were trying to "cook the books" for Sinema.

And the McSally concession came before all the votes were counted. According to CNN figures, Sinema held a 38,000-vote lead (out of more than 2 million cast).

So why did she do it -- particularly given that the President of the United States seemed convinced that she should have kept fighting?

The answer is that McSally is playing the long game. Or given the timing, the medium-ish game.

Remember that Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, when accepting Gov. Doug Ducey's appointment to fill the seat of John McCain following the late senator's passing, made very clear that he wasn't planning to stick around the Senate all that long. "I have committed to serving at least through the second session of the 115th Congress," Kyl said.

"I do know I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other office in the future." Kyl told the Arizona Republic earlier this month that he planned to talk to Ducey about his future plan soon. "I have family needs, as well, and so, we'll decide what to do at that point," said Kyl. "I'll talk to the governor."

At a minimum then, we know that there will be another open-seat special election in Arizona in 2020. (That race will be for the remaining two years left on McCain's term; he was re-elected in 2016 and the race for the next full 6-year term will be in 2022.) And McSally, with an eye on that race, likely wants to not look like a sore loser or to keep up a nasty fight in a race she is very unlikely to win. Most voters like their election to end somewhere close to the actual vote and with a clean result -- either way. Continuing to charge at the electoral windmill rarely behooves a candidate's long-term political prospects.

But the truth of the matter is that McSally may not even have to wait that long. Kyl's quotes about his future plans make clear that he was only wiling to pledge to serve until the end of the 115th Congress, which will come to an end shortly. If Kyl resigns his seat in early 2019, it would, again, be up to Ducey, who just got reelected, to appoint a successor to serve until the 2020 special election. McSally is far and away the likeliest pick for Ducey.

And it's not hard to imagine that Kyl wanted to wait and see what happened in the 2018 election before making a decision on when he will walk away from the Senate. With McSally losing, Kyl now likely is further incentivized to leave before 2020 so as to give a Republican the best chance to hold the seat.

Wrote Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic on Monday:

"Republican Martha McSally soon could be called Sen. McSally. More than one million Arizona voters wanted to see the former fighter-pilot-turned-southern-Arizona congresswoman in the Senate. Gov. Doug Ducey could grant them their wish. ... Ducey, with one stroke of a pen, could apply some desperately needed salve to the open, gaping wound that is post-election Arizona."

Seen through the lens of her future political prospects, McSally's decision not to fight until the last vote makes a whole lot more sense. She's got an even-money (and maybe better) chance at making it to the Senate sometime in 2019. Why even risk jeopardizing that by fighting out a race that she almost certainly can't win?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
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