Here's the real reason Martha McSally conceded the Arizona Senate race before all the votes were counted

The image was decidedly odd -- and sort of nice.Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally, curled up on ...

Posted: Nov 14, 2018 2:01 AM
Updated: Nov 14, 2018 2:01 AM

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.

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"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: 319381

Reported Deaths: 7354
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22264265
Hinds20634421
Harrison18381316
Rankin13862282
Jackson13677248
Madison10234224
Lee10050176
Jones8458167
Forrest7821153
Lauderdale7257242
Lowndes6498149
Lamar633688
Lafayette6298120
Washington5418136
Bolivar4835133
Panola4663110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4597146
Marshall4572105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc424973
Monroe4155135
Union415576
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock386087
Leflore3515125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn324172
Scott319374
Yazoo314171
Itawamba305077
Adams304885
Copiah299766
Coahoma298383
Simpson298189
Tippah291568
Prentiss283561
Leake271774
Marion271280
Covington267083
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251951
Newton248563
Tishomingo231267
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187554
Stone187433
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174032
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135247
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite126142
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica108027
Jefferson Davis107833
Claiborne103030
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin85023
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547873

Reported Deaths: 11274
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809141565
Mobile41984826
Madison35629523
Tuscaloosa26147458
Shelby25580254
Montgomery25075611
Baldwin21805313
Lee16248175
Calhoun14710325
Morgan14618285
Etowah14160362
Marshall12446230
Houston10757288
Elmore10292212
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10155250
Cullman9928200
Lauderdale9591248
DeKalb8963189
Talladega8455184
Walker7330280
Autauga7229113
Blount6937139
Jackson6905113
Colbert6406139
Coffee5622126
Dale4929114
Russell454541
Chilton4470116
Franklin430783
Covington4267122
Tallapoosa4127154
Escambia401180
Chambers3723123
Dallas3606156
Clarke352861
Marion3237106
Pike313978
Lawrence3124100
Winston283272
Bibb267664
Geneva257081
Marengo250665
Pickens236662
Barbour234559
Hale226678
Butler223771
Fayette217762
Henry193743
Cherokee187245
Randolph186944
Monroe179141
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155157
Cleburne153144
Lamar146237
Lowndes142053
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113230
Coosa111429
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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