Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced Tuesday that former Sen. Jon Kyl (R) will fill the seat left vacant after the death of Sen. John McCain (R).
Who is Jon Kyl?
Kyle retired from the Senate in 2013, after being elected in 1995. He had been replaced by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who is retiring this year after only a single term.
At the time of his retirement, Kyl was the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate.
Ducey said in a statement that there was no one “more prepared” to serve Arizona than Kyle.
“He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans," Ducey said. "I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and college of so many years."
What about re-election in 2020?
Kyl said will not run for re-election in 2020. Ducey said that it is possible that Kyl will resign as soon as the end of this year when the congressional session wraps up. Ducey said:
I haven't been able to get that assurance from Sen. Kyl yet. What I have gotten is a commitment to serve Arizona through at least this session of Congress, and it's my hope that he serves longer.
I have committed to serving at least through the second session of the 115th Congress. I do know I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other office in the future.
Kyl’s appointment fulfills a couple of necessary criteria. It gives Republicans another reliable vote as Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is being debated and another debt ceiling deadline looms, and it solves a contentious issue before Ducey faces re-election in November. If Kyl does retire (again) at the end of this year, Ducey could appoint someone who would be able to run for re-election in 2020.
A special election will be held in 2020 to choose a replacement for McCain.
McCain’s widow, Cindy, tweeted her support for the appointment, calling his appointment “a great tribute to John.”
Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John’s. It’s a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) September 4, 2018