After a funeral for John McCain that many said was in bad taste for speakers who bashed the Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, Arizonans now know who their next senator will be. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is naming former US Sen. Jon Kyl as the late Sen. John McCain’s replacement in the US Senate.
Ducey made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, noting that the people of Arizona needed someone who could “hit the ground running.”
Earlier the Arizona governor tweeted, “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 U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served.”
McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, voiced her approval of Kyl’s selection via Twitter though she may have had little choice.
Polling over the last two years consistently had Senator McCain ranking as the third most unpopular senator in country. Even below that of Missouri’s Claire McCaskill. McCain was even seen as vulnerable in the 2020 election after he regularly opposed the president on several key issues.
“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,” she tweeted ahead of Tuesday’s press conference.
John McCain died of cancer on Aug. 25. During his recent private funeral in Arizona, former Sen. Kyl said he had traveled with McCain around the world over the years.
“I will miss him as a friend, and a strong force for America and the world,” Kyl said.
If the timing works out, Kyl could participate in the vote on whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. In fact, he’s been one of Kavanaugh’s champions, working to guide his nomination through the Senate.
Kyl is considered a solid conservative on many issues. For example, he has been a major pro-ife figure and opponent of the abortion giant Planned Parenthood and he stood by Dutch politician Geert Wilders in his attempt to expose the dangers of radical Islam.
Kyl will have the option to hold the Arizona Senate seat until the next general election in 2020, but it’s unclear if he’ll stay in the post that long. He has indicated he might serve only through the New Year.
The GOP is hoping Kyl will be a more reliable Republican vote than McCain was. McCain’s opposition to repealing Obamacare was just one of many problematic moments for the Republican Party.
Republicans maintain narrow control of the Senate, and Democrats are hoping to win control in the midterm elections in November and launch a long impeachment process and, if that fails, serve as a roadblock to any future conservative agenda coming out of the White House.
Arizona’s other Republican senator, Jeff Flake, is not running for reelection because his regular feuding with Trump made his re-election impossible. He had become Arizona’s most unpopular senator in 75 years.