In the aftermath of the 2018 midterms, it hasn’t been abnormal to see losing Republicans — or Republicans whose victories are yet to be certain — rail against their Democratic opponents and the electoral process as a whole. Rick Scott is currently doing this in Florida and President Donald Trump is echoing his sentiments.
That may be why Martha McSally, the Republican candidate in Arizona’s senate election, received widespread praise for doing what – until 2018 – was expected of a losing candidate in any American election: she gracefully conceded.
After calling to concede to Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema, McSally said:
“I wish her all success as she represents Arizona in the Senate… I am convinced that Arizona is the best state in the country and our best days are still yet to come and I’m going to continue to pray for our success.”
You can watch her concession in the video below.
Congrats to @kyrstensinema. I wish her success. I’m grateful to all those who supported me in this journey. I’m inspired by Arizonans’ spirit and our state’s best days are ahead of us. pic.twitter.com/tw0uKgi3oO
— McSally For Senate (@MarthaMcSally) November 13, 2018
Settled in her home with an adoring Golden Retriever beside her, it was a concession that could have been painted by Norman Rockwell. Yet, despite the concession, some aren’t convinced we’ve seen the last of Martha McSally.
The death of former Republican Arizona Senator John McCain earlier this year led to Republican John Kyle filling the newly-vacated seat. However, Kyl has said he only intends to serve until 2019, leaving Arizona Governor Doug Ducey the prerogative to appoint Kyl’s replacement. Under Arizona state law, Ducey must select someone from McCain’s party, with many asking who better to appoint than a Republican Senatorial candidate who won nearly half of Arizona’s vote?
Suddenly, people seem to know why McSally went so gently that good night.
Rumor has it that Jon Kyl is going back into retirement and Governor Ducey will name McSally to fill out the remainder of McCain’s term. #longlivetheswamp
— Gary Davis (@revgaryd26) November 13, 2018
With Sinema winning AZ Senate race, expect immediate chatter about AZ Gov Ducey potentially appointing McSally to Senate once Kyl steps down from seat he was appointed to after McCain died
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) November 13, 2018
McSally is revving her engines for McCain's seat. #TheView
— Deborah Bee (@BeeQueenbee60) November 13, 2018
McSally knows she will be appoonted to McCain's seat.
— Kentucky Not Kochtucky (@kochtucky) November 13, 2018
But a graceful concession hasn’t been enough to convince McSally’s critics of her political integrity.
In fact, some Arizonans view the concession as calculated, buoyed by the assurance of a possible appointment to the seat.
McSally conceded maybe because she had a backdoor deal with Sinema? John McCain's old seat is still up for grabs, and who would Ducey appoint to take that seat? Hmmmm… I smell a rat, here!
— Ken Valley (@tularockstar) November 13, 2018
McSally isn’t being gracious. My guess is a lot of red wine and Xanax and her therapy dog plus a call from the party bosses telling her that she can have McCain’s seat when Kyl steps down. She’s still a slanderous snake #Republican #ElectionResults2018
— AJ (@AJSOL88) November 13, 2018
Kyl will resign and McSally will be appointed to fill McCain's seat until 2020 election. Even when Arizona wins, we lose.
— ImmgtnRightsActivist #Lights4Liberty (@ImmigActivists) November 13, 2018
Regardless of whether or not McSally does replace McCain, her opponent Kyrsten Sinema has already succeeded in turning the state blue for the first time in three decades, leading many to celebrate the victory.
BREAKING: Good news for Arizona and for America. Synema has won the Senate seat now occupied by Flake. So Flake’s decision not to seek re-election becomes the first known time his words have actually been followed by positive results.https://t.co/ov9bDec9ou
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) November 13, 2018
Congratulations Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema on your win! So proud to call you my friend. pic.twitter.com/0bogtkeymF
— Lydia Guzman (@LydiaGuzman) November 13, 2018
Congrats to @kyrstensinema. May the MAGA shipwreck continue to sink deeper. Couldn’t be prouder as the majority of sane Americans voted against corruption, tax grabs for the rich, white nationalism, and the misogynistic and devisive idealogy of Trumpism. #MorningJoe
— LeoKapakos (@LeoKapakosNY) November 13, 2018
Though Sinema’s achievement is incredible, McSally may not be done just yet.