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.

Cases: 319948

Reported Deaths: 7371
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22285267
Hinds20719421
Harrison18431317
Rankin13901282
Jackson13718248
Madison10263224
Lee10059176
Jones8467167
Forrest7832153
Lauderdale7261242
Lowndes6517150
Lamar635188
Lafayette6313121
Washington5425137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4670110
Oktibbeha466198
Pearl River4605147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425873
Monroe4157135
Union415777
Neshoba4063179
Lincoln4008112
Hancock386987
Leflore3515125
Tate342486
Sunflower339491
Pike3371111
Alcorn327272
Scott320374
Yazoo314171
Adams308086
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298784
Simpson298589
Tippah291968
Prentiss284161
Leake272074
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264642
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248663
Tishomingo231868
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190474
Stone188433
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174132
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135347
Greene131834
Lawrence131124
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127238
Amite126242
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108234
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96629
Franklin85023
Quitman82216
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 548657

Reported Deaths: 11306
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810031566
Mobile42105831
Madison35690525
Tuscaloosa26173458
Shelby25607254
Montgomery25081614
Baldwin21868314
Lee16278176
Calhoun14719327
Morgan14629285
Etowah14175364
Marshall12453230
Houston10781287
Elmore10293214
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10162251
Cullman9952201
Lauderdale9603250
DeKalb8972190
Talladega8460184
Walker7338280
Autauga7241113
Blount6945139
Jackson6932113
Colbert6413140
Coffee5635127
Dale4928116
Russell454841
Chilton4476116
Franklin431382
Covington4275122
Tallapoosa4138155
Escambia401680
Chambers3728124
Dallas3607158
Clarke353061
Marion3240107
Pike314378
Lawrence3133100
Winston283472
Bibb268564
Geneva257981
Marengo250565
Pickens236962
Barbour234559
Hale227278
Butler224271
Fayette218862
Henry194543
Randolph187544
Cherokee187345
Monroe180041
Washington170539
Macon163051
Clay160059
Crenshaw155957
Cleburne153444
Lamar146837
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124342
Conecuh113630
Coosa111729
Perry108626
Sumter105732
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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Tropical Depression Claudette has now moved into Alabama and Georgia, leaving with some cloud cover but dry conditions. Most of us will stay dry through this Father's Day but some spotty showers will likely through the late afternoon.
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