Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has picked former Sen. Jon Kyl to succeed the late Sen. John McCain.
At a news conference Tuesday, the Republican governor said Kyl committed to serve through the end of the year and added that he hopes the ex-lawmaker will serve longer. Kyl, 76, represented Arizona in the Senate for nearly two decades before retiring in 2013. He stressed that he "will not seek this seat in 2020" in a planned special election.
Kyl served his entire tenure in the Senate alongside McCain and spent time as the chamber's second-ranking Republican. McCain, 81, the longtime Republican senator and former GOP presidential nominee, died late last month after a struggle with brain cancer.
"We're all saddened by the circumstances that required this appointment and appreciate that there was only one John McCain," Kyl said, adding that he wants to take care of "unfinished business" before the Senate including judicial nominations.
When Kyl takes office, he will restore the GOP's 51-49 seat majority in the Senate. That margin is critical now as the GOP seeks a majority vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Kyl was charged with helping Kavanaugh navigate the confirmation process in the Senate, and "now, Sen. Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh's confirmation," Ducey said Tuesday.