Now that Senator John McCain has been laid to rest, it is time to talk about his replacement.
Speculation on who would be chosen has been rampant, but Arizona Governor Doug Ducey finally made his choice Tuesday, picking former senator Jon Kyl to fill the seat.
Jon Kyl selected
In a press conference in Pheonix Tuesday, Ducey said that he “kept coming back” to Kyl again and again as he considered the options.
“Sen. Kyl is a beacon of integrity, highly regarded by people on both sides of the aisle and able to work across party lines to get results,” he said. “There’s a reason he was considered one of the best senators in the country,” Ducey said.
John McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain approved of the choice, saying Tuesday that she could “think of no one better to keep fighting for the country and state [John McCain] held so dear.”
Widow Cindy McCain also approved, tweeting, “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.”
Kyl was in office as a senator for more than two decades as well as having been the Minority Whip.
Prior to winning his senate seat, he served as a congressman for eight years.
Currently he is serving as a “sherpa,” guiding Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh through the confirmation process.
However, Kyl, 76, has only committed to serving through the end of the year, and said he would not run for the seat in 2020.
This leaves open the possibility that Rep. Martha McSally could replace Kyl in January if she happens to lose her Senate race against Democratic candidate Rep. Krysten Sinema this fall.
A Challenging Choice
Ducey has been rather skillful in staying in good favor with the Trump administration, while keeping his moderate voter base happy.
His challenge here was to appoint someone to fill McCain’s shoes but also support the president’s agenda, unlike McCain, who regularly voted against legislation Trump was trying to push through.
But even more importantly, Ducey had to pick someone who would represent the best interests of Arizona’s residents.
With literally every vote counting these days, Ducey’s appointment is very significant.
Fortunately, Kyl is a solid pick who is popular with Arizona voters and likely to support the GOP agenda, particularly when it comes to voting in Judge Kavanaugh.
Ducey had to deal with a 3-headed snake here in that he had to appease Trump, Arizonians, and the McCain family.
That is not exactly an easy task. But in picking Kyl, he may have made the safest choice possible.