7

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey recently appointed Martha McSally, the losing candidate in the 2018 Senate election, to the state's other Senate seat.

Is there any precedent since 19131 for a Senate candidate who lost, to be appointed to the Senate shortly2 after the election?


1The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified which established the direct election of senators, as well as means of filling vacant Senate seats.

2For this question, I've defined "shortly" as "a period of two years since the previous election", i.e. if the candidate lost in the 2018 Senate election, "shortly" refers to the period between 2018 to 2020.

  • 2
    This might be a useful reference if you can be bothered working through it: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_appointed_United_States_Senators – Stuart F Dec 20 '18 at 12:30
  • 1
    @StuartF Thanks, but it doesn't exactly tell me who lost elections before and individual pages aren't written completely either, especially for those from the last century. – Panda Dec 20 '18 at 12:41
  • Going before 1913 and the XVII amendment doesn't make much sense so this question can be restricted to the period in which senator were elected by general vote, not by the state legistures. – James K Dec 21 '18 at 10:05
  • 1
    @JamesK Yes, I'm looking for examples since 1913. I've have updated my question to make it clearer, thanks. – Panda Dec 21 '18 at 10:08
4

I believe this is without precedent.

A Vox article notes that "Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso lost his Republican Senate primary in 1996, and was appointed to take on a Senate seat in 2007 after Sen. Craig Thomas died", but "the rapid-fire timing on this is uncommon". This suggests that the journalist was unable to find a better example of a losing candidate being appointed. If they had, surely they would have cited it in that article.

I spent a little time going through the wikipedia list of appointed senators, and I too was unable to find any that had lost an election immediately prior to being appointed.

There are a few of reasons for this. For this situation to arise there would have to be an open senate seat after the election. Those seats that have special elections would normally hold a special election at the same time, filling the seat and removing the need for an appointment. Then the appointee would have to be of the opposite party to elected senator. This is relatively rare and most likely in "purple" states. Finally the it is politically brave to appoint a "loser". It seems that this combination of state law and politics has not arisen until now.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.