115 years in the Arizona political arena

Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., and Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, chat prior to the start of her confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9, 1981.  (AP Photo)

Successes and scandals that generated memorable headlines – a lot has happened in the Arizona political scene during the past 115 years that the Arizona Capitol Times and its predecessor publications under different names have existed.  

Arizona News Service, which publishes the Arizona Capitol Times, Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report, was launched the Creighton family. It is currently owned by BridgeTower Media. Ned Creighton, former publisher of Arizona News Service and grandson of the founder, said neither he nor his father nor grandfather ever considered running for a political position and were content to observe and report on the day’s events and activities at the Arizona Capitol. 

In a 2011 interview, Creighton, comparing the political scene then with years past and how the mood had changed at the Capitol, said: “Everybody who looks back –all us old geezers who used to be something or do something, look back and see a smoother, calmer time, when people were working together.” 

It has been an ever-changing political landscape, from the Wild West days of yore through periods of cooperation and collaboration to today’s confrontational and mean-spirited era. Through it all, Arizona has produced an array of respected political figures and attracted its share of unwanted notoriety. 

For example, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor, began her law practice in Phoenix in 1957. She later served in the Arizona Legislature, rising to Senate majority leader in 1973, also a first for a woman.  

Then there was Arizona’s Fab Five. On January 4, 1999, four Republicans and a Democrat – all women – were sworn into office, another first. Heading the quintessential quintet was Gov. Jane Dee Hull, Secretary of State Betsey Bayless, Attorney General Janet Napolitano, Treasurer Carol Springer and Superintendent of Public Instruction Lisa Graham Keegan. Napolitano, the lone Democrat, was elected governor in 2002, r-elected in 2008, and in 2009 resigned to join the Obama administration as secretary of Homeland Security. 

When it comes to longevity, no one tops Carl Hayden. He served in the U.S. Senate for more than 40 years, from 1927 to 1969. Hayden, who died in 1972 at the age of 94, had played a major role in establishing the Central Arizona Project and in creating the funding formula for the federal highway system. 

Bruce Babbitt has the distinction of having served the longest as Arizona governor – two full four-year terms and nearly a year of his predecessor’s – Wes Bolin, who died in March 1978. Both were Democrats, and Bolin had a longevity record of his own – 29 years as Arizona secretary of state. Babbitt ran for president in 1988, but dropped out after two primaries. He also served as President Bill Clinton’s secretary of the Interior from 1993 to 2001. 

Babbitt was a member of a pioneer Arizona family, which was active in ranching and operated Indian trading posts dating back to the 1880s. But because Babbitt was born in California while his mother was visiting there, for political purposes he could not claim to be an Arizona native.  

Babbitt’s tenure as governor was a time of cooperation, at least compared to what goes on at the Capitol these days. His collaborator was Burton Barr, who was elected to the Arizona House in 1964 and served as majority leader for 20 years. It was believed that Barr, a Republican, would quietly visit Babbitt, a Democrat, at the governor’s home on weekends to plot strategies. 

Barr, a pragmatist who once suggested that if he couldn’t get 31 votes for a bill then it probably wasn’t a very good bill, was instrumental in creating the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program that attracts federal funding. 

But Barr didn’t always win. After a GOP-dominated House committee killed a bill he was pushing, he left the hearing room looking disgusted. Asked if he was mad, he replied. “I’m like the Kennedys. I don’t get mad. I get even.” 

However, his biggest loss occurred in 1986, when he decided to run for the Republican nomination for governor. He was considered a sure winner. The event to announce his candidacy and launch his campaign was like a victory celebration, complete with balloons and a band. 

Former Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham angrily points his finger at a prosecution lawyer during testimony in his Senate impeachment trial in Phoenix in this March 17,1988 file photo. (AP Photo/Jeff Robbins/Pool)

And then, along came Evan Mecham – again, a Glendale car dealer and former state senator who had run  unsuccessfully  for governor in 1964, 1974, 1978, and 1982. His loss to Babbitt in 1978 by about 41,000 votes was a lot closer than most observers expected. Barr was advised to ignore Mecham’s verbal attacks, but it didn’t work.  

Mecham defeated Barr in the GOP primary and went on to win a three-way race for governor, collecting just 40% of the vote. Not long after Mecham took the oath of office, rumors began circulating about a possible impeachment. As Mecham’s miscues piled up, so did support for removing him from office. In one instance, he referred to Black children as “pickaninnies,” a term he described as one of endearment. He was labeled a racist. 

Barely a year after Mecham took office, he was facing six felony charges and a recall movement. That’s when the GOP-controlled House voted 46-14 to impeach him, and on April 4, 1988, the Republican Senate voted 21-9 to convict and remove him from office. 

There were other events that cast a dark cloud over the Arizona political scene. For example, Arizona Republic political reporter Don Bolles was killed by a car bomb in 1976; massive land fraud deals in the 1960s and 1970s that Bolles had investigated damaged Arizona’s image; seven members of the Legislature were indicted in 1991 for accepting bribes in what was called Azscam; and the 2011 Fiesta Bowl was embroiled in scandal involving political contributions and questionable spending. 

Two significant events occurred even before Arizona became a state in 1912. Barry Goldwater, an Arizona icon, was born in 1909, and Arizona News Services began chronicling a potpourri of political happenings. Goldwater served five terms in the U.S. Senate, was one of a handful of GOP leaders who privately told President Richard Nixon he had to resign in 1974 or face certain impeachment in the Watergate scandal, and was trounced in 1964 in his unsuccessful run against President Lyndon Johnson. 

Sometime after his not necessarily unexpected loss to Johnson a year after President John Kennedy was assassinated, Goldwater joked that if all the people who told him they had voted for him actually did, he would have won. 

Goldwater, a retired major general in the Air Force and a World War II pilot, was nevertheless cautious about flying in bad weather. He had a plaque in his office that said: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”  

Don Harris is a copy editor for the Arizona Capitol Times.  

Arizona picks senators, military for Trump’s heroes garden

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is shown Monday, Jan. 6, 2003, before administering the oath of office to members of the Texas Supreme Court, in Austin, Texas. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has recommended a slew of Arizona luminaries for inclusion in the proposed National Garden of American Heroes. The list by the governor's office includes three senators, two governors, and O'Connor, the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and military and civil rights heroes. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is shown Monday, Jan. 6, 2003, before administering the oath of office to members of the Texas Supreme Court, in Austin, Texas. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has recommended a slew of Arizona luminaries for inclusion in the proposed National Garden of American Heroes. The list by the governor’s office includes three senators, two governors, and O’Connor, the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and military and civil rights heroes. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck, File)

A Native American U.S. Marine immortalized for helping raise the American flag over Iwo Jima during World War II. Two Arizona senators who were Republican nominees for president. The first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Those and other Arizona luminaries are among Republican Gov. Doug Ducey’s picks for a new National Garden of American Heroes. President Donald Trump announced the effort this summer, and his administration reached out to governors and the public for suggestions to add to his own list.

The list by the governor’s office recommends three senators, two governors, military and civil rights heroes as well as two military units, including the Navajo Code Talkers. They used an unbreakable code in their Navajo language to communicate during battles in the Pacific during WWII.

The others are:

— Sen. Carl Hayden: He was known as a workhorse of the Senate, where he represented Arizona from 1927 to 1959 after serving in the House since Arizona statehood in 1912. His efforts on the Central Arizona Project, a canal system that brings water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson, helped ensure the state’s growth. He announced his retirement in 1968 and died in 1972 at age 94.

— Sen. Barry Goldwater: He was born in Arizona three years before statehood and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1952. He was the Republican nominee for president in 1964, defeated by Lyndon Johnson. He then ran for Arizona’s other Senate seat in 1968 and won, serving until he retired in 1987. Goldwater died in 1998.

John McCain (Photo by Cliff Owen/Associated Press)
John McCain (Photo by Cliff Owen/Associated Press)

— Sen. John McCain: The son and grandson of Navy admirals was imprisoned after his Navy jet was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967. He moved to Arizona after marrying Cindy McCain and retiring from the military. He won a seat in Congress in 1982, then won Goldwater’s old Senate seat in 1986. He was the Republican nominee for president in 2008 but lost and remained in the Senate until his death in 2018.

— Sandra Day O’Connor: She was the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. She had previously been a judge and a state senator. She retired from the court in 2006. The 90-year-old announced in 2018 that she had dementia and was stepping back from public life.

— Raul Castro: Arizona’s only Hispanic governor served for 2 1/2 years after winning election in 1974. He was born in Mexico and came to Arizona as a young man, earning a law degree and serving as Pima County attorney and a judge. He was ambassador to El Salvador and then Bolivia in the 1960s, resigning as governor to become ambassador to Argentina. He died in 2015 at age 98.

Former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford, left, gets a hug from a supporter as she sits next to another former Arizona governor Raul Castro, prior to an inaugural ceremony for at the Arizona Capitol, in Phoenix, Monday,  Jan. 3, 2011. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has recommended a slew of Arizona luminaries including Mofford and Castro, for inclusion in the proposed National Garden of American Heroes. The list by the governor's office includes three senators, two governors, the first female justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and military and civil rights heroes. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin,File)
Former Arizona Governor Rose Mofford, left, gets a hug from a supporter as she sits next to another former Arizona governor Raul Castro, prior to an inaugural ceremony for at the Arizona Capitol, in Phoenix, Monday, Jan. 3, 2011. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has recommended a slew of Arizona luminaries including Mofford and Castro, for inclusion in the proposed National Garden of American Heroes.  (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin,File)

— Rose Mofford: She became Arizona’s first female governor when Republican Gov. Evan Mecham was impeached and removed from office. The Democrat had been serving as secretary of state at the time and inherited a big budget deficit and criticism over the state refusing to adopt a Martin Luther King. Jr. holiday. Mofford was governor from 1988 to 1991, declining to run for a full term. She died in 2016 at age 94.

— Pat Tillman: The Arizona State University and Arizona Cardinals linebacker gave up a lucrative pro contract after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and joined the Army. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 in a friendly fire incident at age 27.

— Lincoln Ragsdale: He was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and a prominent Black businessman and civil rights leader in Phoenix after the war. He died in 1995 at age 68.

— Frank Luke: Luke was an ace World War I fighter pilot who died in 1918 at age 21 after being wounded in flight. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale is named after him.

Ira Hayes (AP Photo, File)
Ira Hayes (AP Photo, File)

— Ira Hayes: A Pima Indian from Sacaton, he was one of six Marines shown in Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal’s famous “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” photo in February 1945. He later suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism and died in 1955 at age 32.

— Stewart Udall: He was elected to Congress in 1954, and President John F. Kennedy named him secretary of Interior in 1961. He served in the post until the end of President Lyndon Johnson’s term in 1969, overseeing major efforts including the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the expansion of the National Park system. He died in 2010 at age 90.

— Annie Dodge Wauneka: She was the second woman elected to the Navajo Nation Council and worked to improve health and education within the tribe. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963. She died in 1997 at age 93.

— The Buffalo Soldiers: This group of Black U.S. Army cavalry unit soldiers was based across the Midwest and West after the Civil War and often assigned to Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona.

Cities simply need to enforce good neighborhood policy

Paradise Valley Mayor Bien-Willner is wrong.  Cities have all the authority they need to enforce good neighborhood policy.

Rep. Kavanagh’s HB2481 is too much regulation and not needed. The laws are already on the books and have been for a long time.  These laws enable cities to restrict and enforce noise, nuisance, or neighborhood disturbances.  The cities and towns simply need to do their job and enforce the laws.

There is no problem that can’t be solved by working together. Airbnb, Expedia/VRBO, and Arizona Vacation Rental Association (AVRA) are working and talking with cities and short-term rental owners to ensure a “good neighbor” policy is followed by all.

To set the record straight, data show that so-called “bad actors” and “party houses” make up less than one-tenth of one percent of all STR activity. To put this into perspective, this means that 99.9% of short-term rental owners are good neighbors, operate responsibly, quietly, and have few complaints. We are working proactively to encourage these practices. Airbnb recently shut down 50 “party houses” that had received regular and repeated complaints. Several of these were in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Should we kill 99.9% to go after the 1%? No! We should not.

We, the industry platforms and AVRA, have connected with many short-term rental owners and we are in communication, urging better practices and policing of their properties. We all recognize that these short-term rental owners are in neighborhoods, and it puts an added responsibility to ensure good behavior by patrons. The short-term rental industry’s economic impact is big, and it is significant. Short-term rental owners are concerned and want to avoid potential problems. They have reached out to us and we’re communicating regularly. We are meeting with city councils, mayors and police departments. We discuss with them how the industry is working to be good neighbors. We discuss the economic impact and share how the rental process works.

The plain truth is short-term rental patrons are predominantly families coming to enjoy everything that makes Arizona special. They’ve been doing it since before Frank Lloyd Wright build Taliesin West – and my father, Sen. Barry Goldwater, would’ve recognized that.

Short-term rental owners are local residents and small business people who collectively are the people who build and grow Arizona for the future. HB2481 would penalize, restrict or completely put these short-term rental owners out of business during a pandemic, which has already destroyed so many small Arizona businesses.

Barry Goldwater, Jr.
Barry Goldwater, Jr.

Arizona was forward-thinking when Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB1350, the “Home Sharing Act,” into law in 2016, protecting private property owners’ constitutional rights to operate their property as rentals. Sen. Goldwater, my father, believed in the Constitution that protects property rights.

Worldwide, Arizona is known for its friendly atmosphere. We are easy-going, with a healthy business climate, beautiful sunsets and weather. Snowbirds flock to Arizona for world-class golf, spring training, major league baseball, basketball, football and hockey. New businesses and families are relocating to Arizona from blue states because of high taxes and onerous regulations. It’s no secret why people choose to stay in an Arizona short-term rental property.

Annually, Arizona has 10 million visitors. 30% of those visitors choose to stay at a short-term rental property. Annually, over $3 billion is spent by visitors. The short-term rental industry pays $350 million in tax revenue to Arizona and supports over 40,000 Arizona jobs. It is a giant economic engine that is vital to sustaining and growing Arizona’s economy. We do not need more regulation. We need the Mayor of Paradise Valley to enforce the rules already on his town’s books.

It may come as a surprise to most of us that cities like Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Lake Havasu City, and Prescott have hundreds of short-term rentals operating in their municipalities today. These patrons are pumping vital economic life into these cities at a time when they need it most. This segment of the economy can be expected to see continued growth, benefitting every part of Arizona.

There is no need for different rules for private property simply because they are short-term rentals, which would infringe upon the constitutional rights of Arizonans. This would be a “conservative conscience” that father would proclaim and embrace.

If tourism is important to Arizona, then short-term rentals are important to Arizona tourism. We do not need more regulations, but cities need to enforce the laws that are already on their books. I urge members of our State Legislature to oppose HB2481 with their full strength and might.

Barry M. Goldwater, Jr., a retired member of the U.S. Congress, is a founder of Arizona Vacation Rental Association.

D.C. pundit has it wrong, Arizona Republicans ready for 2020


The Washington, D.C., pundit class has focused its sights on one of the fastest growing counties in the nation with the prediction that its voters could thwart the President’s re-election and jeopardize the chances of Republicans holding onto the U.S. Senate. Stuart Rothenberg penned an “analysis” for Roll Call, claiming that the Republicans’ chances in November look grim because of Maricopa County. Let me be unequivocally clear for the D.C. punditocracy: Arizona is Trump country and our Republican activists will keep it that way.

Maricopa County is one of the fastest growing counties because of opportunity. Despite the setback caused by the Coronavirus crisis that is impacting the entire country’s economy, the long-term outlook for both Arizona and Maricopa County is bright. We have a pro-business and pro-job growth environment. We are also considered to have among the strongest pro-life and Second Amendment laws in the nation. Going back to Barry Goldwater, Arizonans are known for passionately supporting individual liberties and limited government. This culture of freedom, combined with the historic accomplishments of President Trump and Republican leadership in our state, makes Arizona attractive to virtually all Americans.

Kelli Ward (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
Kelli Ward (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

In his piece, Rothenberg attempts to juxtapose data from the 2016 and 2018 electoral cycles to make dire predictions for Republicans in 2020 but neglects to point out on-the-ground realities. In 2016, Donald Trump was still a political newcomer and was mostly known for his luxury hotels, reality TV shows, and candid demeanor. Some Republicans and conservative independents were uncertain of how a President Trump would govern if elected.

Now they know and are convinced. They have seen a president who promotes and delivers on tax cuts; continues to appoint judges who interpret the Constitution instead of trying to rewrite it; firmly supports religious freedom and pro-life policies; cuts red tape that strangles business; and, when facing challenges from China and other foreign threats, always places America first. Most importantly, they see a president who has kept his promises.

This is compared to a Democratic Party that has prioritized endless investigations and an utterly failed attempted impeachment, embraces socialism and government-run healthcare, scolds Americans for their patriotism, divides our nation into the favored “special interest” groups of their intersectional identity politics, and incessantly proposes economy crushing regulations and spending.

With that said, Republicans in Arizona are still expecting a serious challenge. That’s why there are already 60 field staff strategically placed across Arizona working hard at training grassroots volunteers. In the past 10 months, Republicans have held more than 670 MAGA Meet Ups. We have also switched to an online format of campaigning in response to the stay at home order and, since March 13, have successfully organized 325 digital meet ups with Arizonans. In addition, this week, we passed the milestone of 1 million phone calls made to Arizona voters, fueled by the Republican grassroots activists who signed up and attended one of our nearly 1,000 Trump Victory Leadership Initiative trainings that have been held this cycle to date.

In 2020, unlike 2016, the Trump campaign is bolstered by a Republican Party that is united and has an established grassroots infrastructure. The reality on the ground – and this is something the Beltway class fails to understand – is that we are more ready than we have ever been before.

While Arizona Republicans do not take the challenge presented to us in a Maricopa County and across the state lightly, we certainly take Rothenberg’s predictions with a grain of salt. After all, in April of 2009 he forecasted the Republican’s chances of recapturing the U.S. House in 2010 as “zero” and as late as October of 2016, he placed Donald Trump’s chances of a victory as “non-existent,” ridiculously declaring that Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin were never in play. With that sort of track record, perhaps we should be encouraged by his analysis.

Dr. Kelli Ward is a family physician, two-term Arizona state senator, and the chairwoman of the Republican Party or Arizona. On Twitter: @KelliWardAZ

Mark Kelly sworn into Senate, narrows GOP edge

Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., talks with his wife former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., after participating in a re-enactment of his swearing-in Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, by Vice President Mike Pence in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)
Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., talks with his wife former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., after participating in a re-enactment of his swearing-in Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, by Vice President Mike Pence in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)

Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on December 2, narrowing Republican control of the chamber and underscoring his state’s shift from ruby red to purple.

Kelly, 56, defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally in last month’s election, making her one of only three incumbents to lose. By taking office, he has reduced the Republican edge in the chamber to 52-48.

That will have scant impact on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s control over the chamber for the final month of this congressional session. But it sets the stage for two pivotal Senate runoff elections in Georgia on January 5.

If Democrats win both, they will command the 50-50 chamber for the new Congress that begins in early January because Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes.

Kelly was sworn into office by Vice President Mike Pence, and both men wore masks and bumped arms in congratulations when the oath was over. Among those watching from the visitors’ gallery were his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., and Scott Kelly, his twin brother and fellow retired astronaut.

Kelly’s Arizona colleague, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, held the Bible on which he took his oath. In what may be a Senate first for such ceremonies, Sinema, known for dramatic fashion, wore a zebra-striped coat and had purple hair, or perhaps a wig.

Kelly’s Senate arrival marks a political milestone for Arizona, which has two Democratic senators for the first time since January 1953. That is when GOP Sen. Barry Goldwater took office, barely a decade before he became his party’s unsuccessful 1964 presidential candidate.

In other evidence of Arizona’s political shift, the state backed President-elect Joe Biden last month, the first time it was carried by a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton won in 1996. Republicans held the Legislature by a slim margin and won convincingly down the ballot.

McSally was appointed to her seat in 2019 to replace the late GOP Sen. John McCain. Her appointment lasted only until last month’s special election was officially certified, which occurred this week. That cleared the way for Kelly to take office and fill the rest of McCain’s six-year term, meaning Kelly will face re-election in 2022.

Kelly was parachuting into a fractious lame-duck session in which lawmakers and President Donald Trump are so far deadlocked over whether to provide a pre-holiday COVID-19 relief package worth hundreds of billions of dollars. They’re also trying to address year-end budget work and a defense policy bill.

Kelly cast himself as a problem-solving centrist during his campaign. His slender 2 percentage point victory over McSally suggests he will be part of Democrats’ moderate wing.

In what was one of the country’s most expensive Senate races, Kelly raised $89 million. That was second only to the $108 million collected by defeated South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado and Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama were the only other Senate incumbents defeated last month.

The son of two police officers, Kelly is a retired astronaut who flew four space missions, including spending time aboard the International Space Station. He was also a Navy pilot who flew combat missions during Operation Desert Storm in the early 1990s.

Giffords was grievously wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in which six people were killed and a dozen others hurt. She and Kelly became leading figures in unsuccessful efforts to pressure Congress to strengthen gun controls.

“Great day, excellent day,” Giffords told reporters afterward.

Kelly is the fourth astronaut to be elected to Congress. John Glenn was a Democratic senator from Ohio and Harrison Schmitt was a GOP senator from New Mexico. Republican Jack Swigert was elected to the House from Colorado, but died of cancer before taking office.


Sinema to be state’s senior senator; McSally pledges to work with former foe

Gov. Doug Ducey appoints Rep. Martha McSally to the fill John McCain’s senate seat currently held by Jon Kyl who will step down Dec. 31, 2018. PHOTO BY DILLON ROSENBLATT/ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES

Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema will be sworn into office before Martha McSally, who Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Tuesday to fill Arizona’s U.S. Senate vacancy.

Because she will be sworn in first, Sinema will become Arizona’s senior senator and first female senator, which Ducey said honors the wishes of the state’s voters.

Sinema defeated McSally by about 55,000 votes in Arizona’s Senate race where more than 2.4 million votes were cast earlier this year.

But McSally isn’t bitter. In accepting the appointment, she promised to work with her former opponent once they are both sworn in.

The concept of seniority, which is assigned based on when incoming senators are sworn in, was developed in the first half-century of the Senate, resolving the institution’s struggle to find an “equitable means for distributing special status among members,” including committee assignments and getting more desirable office space

McSally will be Arizona’s junior senator.

At a press conference Tuesday to announce the appointment of McSally to the U.S. Senate, Ducey said Sinema deserves senior standing.

“I’m also going to respect the will of the voters. Sen.-elect Sinema was elected to the office and she’s going to be first,” he said.

Ducey could have pushed for McSally to be sworn in immediately — as Sen. Jon Kyl was when he accepted the appointment to fill the seat previously held by Sen. John McCain. In that scenario, McSally would become Arizona’s senior senator.

McSally will fill McCain’s seat when Kyl steps down at the end of this year.

Although senior status is mostly symbolic, Ducey likely would have faced a wave of criticism if his administration pushed for McSally to be sworn in before Sinema.

Every state has a senior and a junior senator. Typically, there is a sizeable experience gap between the two senators and the senior member has more knowledge of the chamber and more clout amongst its members. In this case, both Sinema and McSally will be coming into the Senate at roughly the same time.

Sinema will be sworn in with other new senators on Jan. 3. McSally will be sworn in sometime after that, Ducey said.

Once they’re sworn in, McSally vowed Tuesday to work with Sinema — putting aside the “spirited” election matchup that pitted the two congresswomen against each other this year.

Arizona’s senators have a long, storied history of working together, McSally said, characterizing the teamwork as a state tradition. The two-term congresswoman from Tucson said she and Sinema share a lot of common ground and will work together just like they did when they were both in the House.

“The election is over and the people have spoken and I’m honored to have this appointment,” McSally said. “And now, for all of us, it’s about moving forward and it’s about the challenges that we have as a state and as a country and continuing to be problem-solving for the people that we represent.”

Her statements glossed over her contentious Senate matchup with Sinema in which the attacks turned both negative and personal.

Sinema has not publicly acknowledged Ducey’s appointment of McSally. McSally said she texted Sinema the news early Tuesday morning.

Part of the reason Arizona’s senators have often worked well together is that in the state’s recent history, both senators have represented the same political party. McSally, a Republican, and Sinema, a Democrat, represent opposing parties with Democrats in the minority in the Senate.

Arizona hasn’t had Democratic representation in the Senate since Dennis DeConcini took office in 1977, serving first with Republican Barry Goldwater and then McCain.

Now, of the six states with two female senators, Arizona will be the only one in which the women are from different political parties.

Some have criticized Ducey for appointing McSally after she lost the Senate race, arguing the governor’s appointment was unfair considering voters rejected McSally in November.

Arizona Democratic Party chairwoman Felecia Rotellini said McSally and Republican leaders in the Senate are rejecting the will of the voters to advance the GOP agenda.

 “After running a divisive, dishonest campaign for over a year, Arizona voters rejected McSally because they don’t trust her to fight for them when it matters most,” she said.

 Ducey credited Sinema for her decisive victory in November, but said McSally still earned votes of confidence from a large swath of Arizona voters.

 “The voters did make their choice and I believe that the voters had two excellent choices in this past election, he said. “Martha McSally received over 1 million votes to the United States Senate.”