Senator Jon Kyl Calling it a Career (Shhh...Nobody Tell J.D. Hayworth)

U.S. Senator Jon Kyl is expected to announce his retirement from the Senate at a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. today, according to multiple news outlets, and speculation as to who will replace him is already running rampant.

The obvious choice is Congressman Jeff Flake, who has already told the Arizona Republic he's interested in the job.

Former Congressman John Shadegg has also expressed an interest in the seat, despite retiring from the House of Representatives last year.

Others mentioned include former state Treasurer Dean Martin, Congressman Trent Franks, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was often mentioned as a possible challenger to Kyl prior to being shot "through the brain" during the January 8, Tucson shooting rampage.

Then there's the worst case scenario: Former TV pitchman J.D. Hayworth.

People in Arizona -- for whatever reason -- seem to like Hayworth. Prior to his day's of pimping "free government money," Hayworth served in Congress until getting the voter-assisted boot much thanks to his ties to disgraced D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Hayworth nearly knocked Senator John McCain off the ticket as the GOP candidate for Senate during last year's primary because he came across as the more Conservative of the two candidates. And Arizonans love Conservatives. But they don't love dishing out "free government money," and when news spread that Hayworth worked as pitchman for a company doing exactly that, his Conservative flame was fanned out.

He also thinks gay marriage will lead to men marrying horses.

Hayworth is a political opportunist -- let's just hope he's hiding under a rock somewhere licking his wounds and doesn't get word of Kyl's retirement until it's too late for him to get on the ballot. 

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James King
Contact: James King