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Arizona governor names former Sen. Jon Kyl as McCain replacement

Arizona governor names former Sen. Jon Kyl as McCain replacement

Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to fill the late Sen. "Upon his appointment today, Mr. Kyl said, "... when I left the Senate nearly six years ago, I had no intention of returning.

Cindy McCain praised Kyl's selection, saying he was a friend of her family.

The unusual timing of Kyl's appointment could work out for another Arizona Republican who wants to become a U.S. senator - Rep. Martha McSally.

Kyl was heading back to Washington, D.C., as confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh began.

During a press conference held Tuesday morning, Gov. Doug Ducey announced the appointment of Kyl.

"Kyl tended to be more conservative than McCain throughout his tenure in the Senate", Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said in a telephone interview.

Since McCain's death, there has been rampant speculation about whom Ducey would appoint to the vacant seat.

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Kyl said that he "will do my best to ensure that Arizonans continue to be well-represented in the Senate".

Kyl said he chose to return to the Senate because of his sense of duty "to the state I love", adding, "I'm putting my country first just as this seat's previous occupant did every single day". He said he agreed to serve briefly out of a "sense of duty" and will not run for the seat in 2020, when Arizona voters will decide who fills the seat through 2022. But Kyl, who was sworn in Wednesday, has only committed to serving through at least the end of this Congress.

Arizona's other current Senator, Jeff Flake, called Kyl "an excellent choice", in statement released Tuesday, adding, "there is no one more qualified" to serve the state.

It was the sometimes more moderate McCain who past year thwarted fellow Republicans' attempts to undo Obamacare in a dramatic vote shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in July 2017. I wish I could say the same for Arizona's other Senator, but that was not my experience with [John] McCain. "Kyl brings a depth of knowledge on issues key to Arizona, from water and natural resources to Native American relations", the Republic reported.

Before the appointment, Kyl had been working as Kavanaugh's Senate guide, accompanying him on courtesy visits to Capitol Hill.

Kyl has said he would stay in the seat until January but Ducey hoped he would reconsider. Although Arizona has been a reliably Republican state, demographic trends have raised Democratic hopes of winning there in November and in future statewide elections.

In December 2017, amid rumors McCain was considering resigning his seat, Ducey sent a harsh message to politicians lobbying for him for the appointment.

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