As an important election deadline nears in Arizona, Republicans' worries over keeping the party's seat — and the Senate majority — while Sen. John McCain continues his battle with cancer are starting to ease somewhat.
McCain, 81, was diagnosed last summer with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer that typically has a poor prognosis, reports The Washington Post.
He has been undergoing treatment in Arizona since December, keeping him away from Congress, but friends who have visited him say they his recent state of health is encouraging.
Republicans in both Arizona and Washington hope McCain will be able to hold office through May 30, the unofficial date to avoid needing a special election. After that date, Gov. Doug Ducey can appoint a new senator. If a special election is held, that means the Republican Party will have to fight two elections as Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, is retiring this year.
Ducey has not said who he plans to appoint, even though Republicans have mentioned the state treasurer and Ducey's chief of staff as possible candidates.
Still, state officials said they are concerned there there will be a lawsuit no matter which option happens.
“If there was a vacancy today and we made a decision on ‘yes, call a special election’ or ‘no, [don’t] call a special election’ ... there is a 99.9 percent chance that litigation would ensue,” Eric Spencer, election services director in the office of Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said.
According to Arizona election law, Senate seats that are vacated are filled at the next general election. Observers say that if the seat remains filled on the 30th, a special election would not happen. But if the election happens, Democrats have a chance to grab the seat.
Ducey has said that the speculation over McCain's seat "is totally inappropriate," his spokesman, Daniel Scarpinato said.
Republicans, including close friend Sen.Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have visited with hm and spoken to him and say he is alert and doing well.
Another person close to McCain said he is “in good spirits...he remains engaged on his work in the Senate, and is proud the Armed Services Committee this week overwhelmingly passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which reflects his priorities as committee chairman.”
Currently, the GOP primary has three major candidates, Rep. Martha McSally, ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and former state lawmaker Kelli Ward.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.