Republican senator Arizona Campain website

Martha McSally

Martha Elizabeth McSally, born on March 22, 1966, is a notable figure in American politics and military history. She has served as a representative for Arizona in both the U.S. House and Senate. Her military career spanned from 1988 to 2010, where she achieved the rank of colonel in the U.S. Air Force, making history as the first American woman to fly in combat and command a fighter squadron. Her legal battle, McSally v. Rumsfeld, successfully challenged a policy requiring U.S. servicewomen in Saudi Arabia to wear abayas.

As a Republican, McSally’s political career included an initial unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House in 2012, followed by a victory in 2014. She lost the 2018 U.S. Senate election to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema but was later appointed to another Senate seat, which she held until a special election defeat in 2020. Known for opposing same-sex marriage and being a strong advocate for increased military spending, she has also taken controversial stances on healthcare and immigration.

McSally’s early life was marked by her father’s sudden death and her mother’s efforts to support the family. She excelled academically and faced challenges, including an alleged coerced sexual relationship with a coach. Her education includes a B.S. from the United States Air Force Academy and a master’s from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

McSally’s legislative efforts in Congress were notable for their focus on security and veterans’ issues. Her tenure was also marked by a gradual alignment with President Trump’s policies, a shift from her earlier, more moderate stance. Despite controversies and legal challenges surrounding her appointment to the Senate, her service broke new ground for women in Arizona politics.