PHOENIX — Kyrsten Sinema will be sworn into the Senate Thursday, marking her start as the state’s first federal female senator and first Democrat to hold the office since 1988.
Sinema was elected over Republican Martha McSally in November, beating the Republican by less than 2 percent of the vote.
She will take over for outgoing U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who assumed office in 2013. He announced in 2017 that he would not seek re-election.
There were 2.4 million votes cast statewide in the Nov. 6 race. Turnout was 17 percentage points higher than the previous midterm.
But McSally will soon join her former opponent in the Senate: She was picked by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to succeed outgoing U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl and serve out part of the late Sen. John McCain’s term.
Ducey said last month that McSally would be sworn in after Sinema, but did not give an exact date.
McSally can run in a 2020 special election to fill the remainder of McCain’s seat through 2022. Then the seat will be up again for a full six-year term.
Sinema and McSally will be the first freshman pair from the state to serve in the Senate since 1912, after Arizona was given statehood.