Governor Doug Ducey has tapped former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl to replace the late senator John McCain.
Ducey told reporters on Tuesday at his office at the Arizona Capitol tower that he made the decision with careful deliberation and sought to pick the most qualified person.
“There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Jon Kyl. He is a man without comparable peer,” Ducey said.
Kyl represented Arizona in the Senate from 1995 to 2013. He works for the Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm Covington and Burling, LLP. Recently, Kyl was named the Trump administration’s “sherpa” to ensure Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination sails through the confirmation process.
“Now, Senator Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation,” Ducey said.
Cindy McCain, whose name had been floated as a possible successor to her husband, tweeted the news shortly before the governor’s press conference, calling Kyl “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," she wrote.
The appointment of Kyl will run through 2020, at which time a special election will determine who will fill the remainder of McCain’s term, which ends in 2022.
However, on Tuesday Ducey said that he hasn’t been able to get Kyl’s commitment to serve beyond the congressional session that ends this year, though he hopes Kyl will reconsider.
"I do know I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other office in the future," Kyl said.
When asked why he won't commit to serving past the end of the year, Kyl explained that when he left the Senate six years ago, he had no intention of returning.
“I look forward to going to Washington and getting to work,” Kyl said.
In a prepared statement, the governor's office said Kyl's "expertise on water and natural resource issues will be very beneficial to our state as we face new challenges in those areas," noting that Arizona State University's Kyl Center for Water Policy is named for him.
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