Former senator to replace McCain, at least until January


The former senator-turned GOP lobbyist said during a press conference with Ducey in Phoenix that he will serve in the Senate at least until the end of the current Congress in January.

Former U.S. Republican Senator Jon Kyl is Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's pick to fill the U.S. Senate seat from Arizona vacated by John McCain, who died last month, the governor said on Tuesday. "There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Senator Jon Kyl".

Kyl, a Republican, is now shepherding Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kyl will be rejoining the Senate at a time when Democrats are eager to take control of the chamber in this year's midterms.

"Now, senator Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation". In Kyl, Ducey tapped a brand-name Arizona politician who was close with McCain and once ascended to the top ranks of Senate leadership.

Kyl, 76, served with McCain in the Senate and rose to become Republican whip, the second-highest leadership post in his party's Senate leadership, before retiring in 2013.

For now, Kyl will pad Republicans' margin in the narrowly divided Senate. In that cycle, voters will get to decide who fills the remainder of McCain's seat through 2022.

The GOP is hoping he'll be a more reliable partisan vote than McCain, whose opposition to a partial repeal of President Obama's health care law pitched the party into turmoil past year. "I think he's his own worst enemy", Kyl said of Trump, adding that he "could be much more effective if he were more politic, more diplomatic". "It's a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona", she wrote.

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Doug Cole, a veteran Republican consultant and former McCain aide, said Kyl was a good, safe pick. In what appeared to be a veiled comparison to McCain, Kyl also joked that the president's combative nature "reminds me of somebody".

Ducey said Kyl would serve through at least the end of the year and expressed hope he would stay in the seat longer.

Kyl has lobbied on behalf of young immigrants brought to the USA illegally as children, often called Dreamers, whose fate is in limbo after Trump tried to end an Obama-era program protecting them from deportation and Congress deadlocked on a solution.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also lauded Ducey's selection of Kyl, calling it an "excellent choice".

An attorney, Kyl speaks in a formal, reserved manner that is a sharp contrast to President Trump, and he belongs to an older, less populist vanguard of the GOP.

The appointment brings a more conservative bent to the Senate given Kyle's voting record and how it veers from that of McCain, a maverick who sometimes collaborated with Democrats on major legislation.

"When others were looking into Vladimir Putin's eyes, with an eye of understanding him and reaching accommodation with him, John, of course, said: I looked into his eyes and saw KGB", Kyl said.

The race pits Republican Rep. Martha McSally against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.