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Jon Kyl To Leave Senate Seat On Dec. 31, Ducey To Select Replacement

Keeping his end of an agreement to leave his U.S. Senate post by the end of the year, Jon Kyl will resign on Dec. 31.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey accepted Kyl’s resignation letter on Wednesday after he was appointed to the position in September after John McCain died following a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

Ducey plans to select a replacement “in the near future.”

Kyl said in his letter that it would be “best if I resign so that your new appointee can begin the new term with all other senators…and can serve a full two (potentially four) years.”

In a statement, Ducey said that Kyl “served with the same integrity and statesmanship that marked his 26 years in Congress.

“I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him. I wish him and his family all the best,” Ducey said.

The expectation since filling the seat was that Kyl would resign before the end of the year after he didn’t commit to long-term appointment and had no plans to pursue the seat in 2020 or beyond. 

Since he was appointed, Kyl said he did not commit to serving in the Senate seat after the end of the year and would not seek the seat in 2020 or beyond.

“To have someone who steps back in with that much seniority and that much understanding of the process…it was actually really good for Arizona to have a steady hand there,” said Republican U.S. Rep. David Schweikert.

With Kyl resigning, Ducey will now have the opportunity to appoint another Republican to the Senate seat, just as is required by law. 

While no replacement has yet to be announced by Ducey, rumored names to fill the role include his former chief-of-staff Kirk Adams and outgoing U.S. Rep. Martha McSally.

Last month, CNN reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was pushing Ducey to replace Kyl with McSally, who lost an election to U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. McSally was elected to the House in 2015. She will be succeeded in Arizona’s second congressional district by Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.

After having resigned from his position on Friday, Adams’ past also includes service within the state legislature. He was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006 and served as House Speaker. In 2011 he resigned to run for U.S. House of Representatives but was defeated in the Republican primary by former Rep. Matt Salmon. 

The selection to fill the seat will also be able to run in a 2020 special election to fill the remainder of McCain’s seat through 2022. The seat will then will be up for a full six-year term. 

From 1994 to 2013, Kyl had served in the Senate and served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 to 1995. 

Prior to being elected to the House after the first time he left the Senate, Kyl served as a lobbyist. He had also served as the sherpa for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.