Politics

Arizona Gov Taps Jon Kyl as McCain Senate Replacement

Former minority whip will return to Congress and boost GOP majority ahead of crucial votes as 2018 midterm elections near

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) tapped former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) Tuesday to replace the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl,” Ducey said in a statement obtained by The Arizona Republic. “He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans. I am deeply grateful to Sen. Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years.”

Kyl, a former Senate minority whip, was McCain’s colleague and served in the Senate for 18 years until 2013. The Arizona Republic reported Ducey’s intention to replace McCain with Kyl prior to his Tuesday morning press conference in Arizona.

Kyl reportedly agreed to serve in McCain’s stead until at least the end of the year.

“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,” McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, tweeted Tuesday.

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McCain died August 25 after battling a virulent form of brain cancer for a year. He was a Navy pilot and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He served in the Senate for more than 30 years and was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee against former President Barack Obama.

Kyl’s presence in the Senate will boost the GOP’s slim majority as important votes — such as the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh — come before a deeply divided Senate ahead of the November midterm elections.

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Arizona’s other senator, the retiring Jeff Flake (R), tweeted, “Governor Ducey has selected Senator Jon Kyl as Senator McCain’s replacement. What an excellent choice! There is no one more qualified and Arizona is well served. Kudos to Senator Kyl for his willingness to serve once again.”

Ducey took to Twitter, adding, “I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents #Arizona in the U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served. #KylforAZ #KavanaughConfirmation.”

Kyl has acted as a “sherpa” for Kavanaugh following his nomination and has helped to orchestrate his meetings with other senators.

(photo credit, article image: Sen. John McCain at a rally, CC BY 2.0, by Chris “Mojo” Denbow / Jon Kyl, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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