Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday announced that the former lawmaker is coming out of retirement to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat.
The move came after a week of public mourning following McCain’s death and put to rest speculation as to who would assume the late Senator’s seat in Washington. Ducey said Kyl, who spent three decades in Congress, is the right man for the job.
“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl,” said Ducey, a Republican.”He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans.”
Kyl, 76, was elected to the U.S House in 1987 after a career as a lawyer and lobbyist. He retired as a Senator in 2013, going out as Senate Minority Whip, a job he filled after Mississippi’s Trent Lott. Since then, he has returned to work as a lobbyist and has for the past several weeks filled the role as Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s “sherpa,” in arranging introductions to lawmakers.
“There is much unfinished business, including confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for judicial and executive branch positions, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of my fellow Arizonans,” said Kyl, who will serve into at least 2019. He said he will not seek to fill the seat in 2020, citing the desire to be with his family.
Long touted as a conservative, while on Capitol Hill the Arizona lawmaker cast votes on several important gun bills. Kyl, while a Congressman in 1994, was one of 46 in the GOP to vote in favor of H.R.3355, which contained the federal assault weapon ban, although he voted against a ban proposed by then-Congressman Chuck Schumer. Later, in the Senate in 2004, he voted for the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which insulates gun makers from frivolous lawsuits. He also voted in favor of the Republican-backed Hatch Amendment supporting stricter penalties for illegal use of guns. In 2008 he was a co-sponsor of a bill to expand gun rights in national parks.
The news of Kyl’s appointment was met with satisfaction from President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.