Arizona Gov. announces John McCain’s GOP successor, already poised to play a role in major vote

Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl has been named as the late Sen. John McCain’s successor.

The former U.S. Senate minority whip will serve in McCain’s empty seat until at least the end of the year and as voters decide in the next general election in 2020 who will continue to 2022.

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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey tweeted the announcement Tuesday following an earlier tweet from McCain’s widow,  Cindy McCain.

“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, according to 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 Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years.”

“Every single day that Jon Kyl represents Arizona in the United States Senate is a day when our state is being well-served,” he added.

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Kyl, who served alongside McCain in his 18 years in the Senate, was the No. 2 ranking Senate Republican when he retired in 2013. The 76-year-old was called by Ducey hours after McCain died on Aug. 25, at the age of 81 from brain cancer. Ducey was scheduled to make the announcement about Kyl at a news conference at the state capitol.

Back in the heat of the 2016 election campaign season, Kyl came to the defense of then-candidate Donald Trump following the GOP frontrunner’s claim that he could , “shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

“I think we all recognize that Donald Trump speaks loosely I don’t think anybody actually thought that he would shoot somebody,” Kyl responded at the time. “You do have to give these candidates a bit of a break they are talking all day long and every now and then they’re going to say something that doesn’t sound right under a microscope.”

But his words did not mean he was fully aboard the Trump Train, noting that voters sometimes turn to to “the loudest or the most boisterous” choice out of frustration.

Though absent at the confirmation hearing on Tuesday for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, Kyl had been serving as the GOP attorney guiding Trump’s nominee through the confirmation process. Rejoining the Senate at this time may mean that Kyl could be part of the vote on whether to confirm Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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