With Arizona Sen. John McCain battling brain cancer, Republican congressmen tried earlier this month to concoct a way to keep his seat under their party’s control, should McCain decide to leave. It didn’t work though — Democrats put a stop to the GOP’s plan.
The Republican effort consisted of attaching an emergency clause to a bill that would change the rules for replacing legislators who die or resign.
The current rules say that if the state’s governor — in this case it’s Republican Doug Ducey — names a replacement by May 31, said replacement serves until another candidate chosen by voters in midterm elections wins the seat.
Wow. Arizona Republicans are making a desperate attempt to rewrite state law so that there won't be a special election if McCain resigns.
I guess they learned from Scott Walker's example that you can't just say, fuck it, no elections. https://t.co/wOACeXHn7H
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) April 18, 2018
GOP legislators were hoping to move the cutoff date for naming an appointee up to March 31. By shifting the date to a day that’s already in the past, it would have effectively removed McCain’s seat from those eligible to be filled by the public’s votes in an election.
It would have also meant that any appointee Gov. Ducey named would have served as senator for a full two years.
“They’re trying to make it really easy to appoint someone to two and a half years without an election to a U.S. Senate seat should the current holder of that Senate seat resign or no longer be able to hold office,” said Democrat Sen. Steve Farley to the AP. “The thing is, we’re all going to vote against it as Democrats, so they won’t get their emergency. It’s silly for them to put it on and think we won’t notice.”
The emergency clause needed two-thirds of the vote in order to be implemented. Fortunately, it died on Monday after failing to clinch this number.