Arizona governor to name McCain's successor for Senate seat

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will name the successor to Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote GOP, White House start playing midterm blame game Arizona race becomes Senate GOP’s ‘firewall’ MORE's (R-Ariz.) Senate seat following news of McCain's death late Saturday afternoon.

Under Arizona state law, Ducey is charged with appointing McCain’s successor to fill his seat until 2020, when there will be a special election for the right to finish out the final two years of McCain’s term. There will be an election for a full six-year term in the 2022 elections.

The law also states that the appointee must be a member of McCain’s party. 

Ducey has not openly discussed whom he will appoint.

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“He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we are most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan," Ducey wrote in a statement after the announcement of McCain's death. "Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.”

There has been speculation Ducey could appoint McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, to his seat, according to Politico.

The Arizona Republic listed potential appointees on Friday, including Kirk Adams, the governor’s chief of staff, and Barbara Barrett, a former state lawmaker and the first Republican woman to run for governor in the state.

Ducey, who is running for reelection this year, has said he will not appoint himself to the seat.

Appointing a replacement in a timely manner could have a significant impact on one of the Senate’s most important upcoming votes: the confirmation of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.

After McCain’s death, Republicans now have a 50-49 majority in the Senate, meaning one GOP defection could sink Kavanaugh's nomination if every Democrat votes "no."

A replacement would shift the majority to 51-49, allowing Republicans to lose one GOP vote and have Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote, which would likely go in Kavanaugh's favor.

McCain died a little more than a year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. His career in the Senate spanned decades, where he became a leading force and a "maverick" of the Republican Party.