In a few hours, when we turn our calendars to June, Arizona governor Doug Ducey will, in the event Sen. John McCain dies or resigns, be able to appoint a successor to McCain who can serve until January 2021. Rumor has it that Ducey will appoint Cindy McCain, the Senator’s wife.
I have no idea whether this is true. I do know that Ducey met yesterday with Cindy and John McCain a few days ago. But we don’t know what they discussed. Ducey declared speculation about whom he might appoint to be “disgraceful” — a ludicrous comment, given the stakes (see below).
It’s far from unheard of for Senators’ wives to complete their husbands’ terms in cases like this. Muriel Humphrey, Hubert’s wife, is one example.
Moreover, Cindy McCain is not just the wife of a successful politician. She’s a successful woman in her own right and a dynamo who contributed materially to her husband’s political success. She is qualified to succeed John McCain.
But with the Senate so closely divided between Democrats and Republicans, and with it likely to remain so after this year’s elections, this should not be end of the inquiry for Gov. Ducey. The key question should be: Where does Cindy McCain stand on the issues? What are her politics?
It seems clear that she’s a liberal on social issues. If she serves in the Senate, this might limit her willingness to confirm conservative judicial nominees. Then again, it might not. Susan Collins is a reliable vote for qualified conservative nominees.
Beyond social issues, I don’t know where Cindy McCain stands. Does Gov. Ducey? If not — if he is not confident that Cindy McCain would be at least as reliably conservative as her mostly conservative husband — he should appoint someone else if/when the time comes.