Jon Kyl Resigning at End of Year Leaving Seat Open For GOP Appointment

December 15, 2018


Thursday, December 13, Governor Doug Ducey accepted the resignation of Senator Jon Kyl. Kyl plans on resigning at the end of the year.


"Thank you for appointing me to the U.S. senate to fill the vacancy created by John McCain's death," Kyl wrote. "It has been an honor and a privilege to again serve the people of Arizona".


"When I accepted your appointment, I agreed to complete the work of the 115th Congress and then reevaluate continuing to serve," Kyle continued. "I have concluded that it would be best if I resign so that your new appointee can begin the new term with all other Senators in January 2019 and can serve a full two (potentially four) years."


"Therefore, I will resign from the U.S. Senate effective 11:59 pm EST December 31, 2018" he concluded. 


In a statement released Friday, Ducey wrote "When Jon Kyl returned to the the Senate in September, our country faced many critical issues. Arizona needed someone who could hit the ground running from day one and represent our state with experience and confidence – and that’s exactly what Senator Kyl has done. Over the last few months, Senator Kyl served with the same integrity and statesmanship that marked his 26 years in Congress."


Ducey also praised Kyl's service to Arizona and for returning to the Senate earlier this year.


“Senator Kyl didn’t need to return to the Senate. His legacy as one of Arizona’s most influential and important political figures was already without question. But he did return, and 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.”


Kyl was appointed by Ducey in late-August 2018 to succeed the late Senator John McCain. Kyl accepted the appointment with the stipulation that he would serve until the end of the year. He had previously served in the Senate from 1995 through 2013. 


What Happens Next


Kyl's resignation means Ducey must now appoint a replacement. In the statement released Friday, Ducey wrote he will be appointing a successor to Kyl "in the near future." 


Per Arizona law (A.R.S 16-222 (C)), the governor is required to appoint someone from the same party as the senator vacating the office.


The most prominent name that is being circulated in the speculation of who Ducey will pick is Martha McSally, who recently lost her race to Kyrsten Sinema for the Arizona Senate race during this year's mid-terms.


There are several others whose names have been often mentioned including Kirk Adams, Ducey's chief of staff; Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, former GOP United States Representatives, Matt Salmon and John Shadegg; Cindy McCain, John McCain's widow; Barbara Barrett, a businesswoman and former Ambassador to Finland; and Eileen Klein, who was appointed Arizona State Treasurer last year by Ducey, but did not seek re-election this year. 


There is a running theory that Ducey is being pressed to appoint a woman to the seat. If he does, she would be the 25th woman serving in the Senate at the beginning of the 116th Congress.


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