Martha McSally lost her race for U.S. senator from Arizona to Kyrsten Sinema, but she’s going to the Senate anyway.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey today appointed McSally, a Republican, to serve the remaining two years of the late John McCain’s term. Jon Kyl, who had previously been in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, was appointed to the seat in September, the month after McCain’s death, but now he is retiring.
McSally, who has been a member of the U.S. House for two terms, has a poor to middling record on LGBTQ rights, receiving a score of 48 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard in her first term and a zero in her second. She narrowly lost the Senate race to Synema, a Democrat who will be the first out bisexual U.S. senator and takes the seat vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who did not seek reelection. The new senators will be seated January 3.
LGBTQ groups denounced the decision to appoint McSally. “In the 2018 midterm election, Arizonans rejected Martha McSally’s toxic agenda and elected pro-equality champion Kyrsten Sinema to represent our state in the U.S. Senate,” HRC Arizona state director Justin Unga said in a prepared statement. “From her votes to gut critical health care protections, to kowtowing to Trump’s shameful ban on transgender service members — McSally has proven that she is more interested in political pandering than working to address the issues that matter to all Arizonans. We’re disappointed with this appointment.”
“Appointing someone who was rejected by Arizona voters just a month ago is not only a slap in the face to Arizonans, but a deliberate and direct attack on LGBTQ people, who have been in Martha McSally’s crosshairs for years,” Drew Anderson, director of campaigns and rapid response at GLAAD, said in a press release. “Arizonans will remember Martha McSally for a lot of things, and morphing herself to be a sheer clone of the anti-LGBTQ Donald Trump will be on the top of that list. Her extreme views are out of step with the people of Arizona and have no place in the U.S. Senate.”
Among McSally’s anti-LGBTQ actions, GLAAD notes, she opposed repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, supported an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would ban same-sex marriage, championed an amendment to a defense spending bill that would have allowed federal agencies to discriminate against LGBTQ people, opposed expanding antidiscrimination laws to cover sexual orientation and gender identity, and voiced support for the Trump administration’s withdrawal of guidance on equal treatment of transgender students in public schools.