Considering Consequences of a McCain Departure

The Story:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), facing deteriorating health, may soon have to resign his Senate seat.


Senator McCain, who was the Republican Party candidate for President in 2008, has exerted considerable influence in the Senate in recent years. He was for example a pivotal figure in the legislative battle to repeal and/or replace Obamacare last summer; only days after surgery, his “no” vote accompanied by a now-legendary “thumb’s down” gesture, defeated a so-called “skinny repeal” bill.

The Thing to Know:

If McCain remains in the Senate until at least June and then resigns, Governor Doug Ducey’s interim appointment to replace him will be the incumbent into the next cycle, in 2020. But should McCain leave before the end of May, a special election would be held this year on the same schedule as a regular midterm.

An early resignation by McCain, then, would mean that both Arizona’s seats in the Senate would be in play in 2018 (Senator Jeff Flake is not seeking re-election).

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