Jon Kyl, the former U.S. Senate minority whip, has been chosen to replace the late Sen. John McCain.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Tuesday that Kyl, 76, will return to Capitol Hill to serve in McCain’s empty Senate seat until at least the end of the year.
“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. “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 college [sic] 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,” Ducey added.
Cindy McCain praised Ducey’s choice, tweeting, “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.”
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
Kyl previously represented Arizona in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to January of 2013 and was elevated to minority whip, the second highest position in the Republican conference. Kyl also served eight years in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate.
During the Trump transition in 2016, Kyl was rumored to be in the running for secretary of defense, however Kyl told the transition team that he wasn’t interested in the position.
Ducey reportedly called Kyl just hours after McCain’s death and asked him to take over the seat. If Kyl steps down at the end of the year, Governor Ducey will have to name another successor.