Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) appointed former United States Sen. Jon Kyl (R)  to replace the late John McCain. Kyl has been advising Judge Brett Kavanaugh -- President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee. Ducey is appointing a replacement for McCain who will fill the seat until a special election is held at the same time as the November 2020 general election. Ducey said, however, at the Tuesday news conference that it is not clear whether Kyl will remain in the Senate through 2020. "I haven't been able to get that assurance from Sen. Kyl yet. What I have gotten is a commitment to serve Arizona through at least this session of Congress, and it's my hope that he serves longer," Ducey said. "I'm hoping that the senator will consider serving longer." 

Kyl added: "I have committed to serving at least through the second session of the 115th Congress. I do know I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other office in the future."

It is likely that President Trump will have a reliable ally in Kyl in the Senate for the balance of 2018. Cindy McCain praised Kyl on Twitter, writing that he 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 wrote. 

Kyl, 76, is a lawyer. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994 and continued to be re-elected by wide margins until his January 2013 retirement. Time magazine recognized him in 2006 as one of America's Ten Best Senators. He was ranked by National Journal in 2007 as the fourth-most conservative U.S. Senator. He chaired the Republican Policy Committee and the Republican Conference . In December 2007, he became Senate Minority Whip. In 2012, he announced that he would not seek re-election to the Senate, expressly ruling out running for further office except, if offered, the Vice Presidency.

Kyl ranked by National Journal as the fourth-most conservative United States Senator in their March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings. He was a signer of Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In 2011, Kyl spoke on the Senate floor and said that abortions represent "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." Planned Parenthood challenged his claim, which an aide later said "was not intended to be a factual statement but rather to illustrate that Planned Parenthood, an organization that receives millions in taxpayer dollars, does subsidize abortions." National Review Online suggested that Kyl's comments were based on the pregnancy-related services provided to pregnant women, citing Planned Parenthood's 2009 annual report figures and claiming that 98 percent of those services were for abortion/

In 2006, Kyl earned a 79 percent rating from the American Taxpayers Union for his opposition to tax legislation. On the other hand, the progressive Citizens for Tax Justice ranked him at zero.

Arizona's Republican governor was required by state law to name a Republican replacement for McCain. While there is a general election in November, McCain's successor will serve until the next general election in 2020. The winner of that election would serve the rest of McCain's six-year term, which ends in January 2023. 



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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