Democrats might have won the U.S. Senate race in Arizona… but looks like Republicans are having the last laugh.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona just appointed Republican Rep. Martha McSally–who lost the nailbiter race to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema by just 50,000 in November–to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. John McCain until his death earlier this year.
The seat had most recently been held by Sen. John Kyl, another Republican, who announced he would retire on December 31, clearing the way for McSally.
Notably, Kyl is retiring before the end of the year… which means that McSally could actually take office before her 2018 opponent, who will be sworn in with the rest of the newly-elected House and Senate on January 3.
If that happens, McSally will become the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona, while Sinema will serve as the junior U.S. Senator–a distinction that comes not with any official privileges, but could be critical in the rigidly-seniority-based U.S. Senate.
Moreover, taking office before Sinema will also give McSally another claim to history: McSally will be the first woman to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate, while Sinema will be the second.