When a U.S. senator leaves office before the end of his or her term, what happens?
William Flannigan, azcentral

Gov. Doug Ducey will wait to name a successor to John McCain until after the late senator has been buried at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Maryland, an aide to the governor told The Arizona Republic on Saturday.

“Out of respect for the life and legacy of Senator John McCain and his family, Governor Ducey will not be making any announcements about an appointment until after the Senator is laid to rest,” Ducey’s senior adviser Daniel Ruiz II said in a statement. 

“Now is a time for remembering and honoring a consequential life well lived.”

McCain died Saturday at his family’s home near Sedona after a 13-month battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

The timing of McCain’s burial is unknown. His body is expected to lay in state in both Phoenix and Washington, D.C. Services in both cities are also expected, but details have not been announced.


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Ducey is required by law to appoint a Republican to fill McCain’s seat, and he understands it is viewed as the most consequential decision he has faced.

McCain’s successor would serve until the 2020 general election.

He or she will follow the most important political figure to emerge from Arizona in the past 50 years. Widely respected across party lines and the globe, McCain’s calls for civility in an era of extreme partisanship will be among his lasting legacies.

Ducey, who is seeking re-election, will be measured by the performance of the person he chooses to fill the state’s Senate vacancy, and that individual will be measured, in some ways, against McCain’s performance.

In a statement about the senator’s passing, the governor paid tribute to McCain’s service to his country. 

“As we mourn his passing and celebrate his truly phenomenal life, we’re also faced with the void John McCain’s absence leaves in the heart and soul of our nation.”

Follow the reporter on Twitter @yvonnewingett and on Facebook. Reach her at [email protected].


John Sidney McCain III: A POW in Vietnam for five years, he served as Arizona’s senator from 1987 until his death and twice ran for president.
Nate Kelly,


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