Arizona Governor Doug Ducey did as expected today and appointed widely popular former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl to the vacant Senate seat of the late John McCain. In making the announcement, Ducey said, “There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl. He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans.” McCain’s widow, Cindy chimed in on Twitter with congratulations and laudatory comments about Kyl.
Jon Llewellyn Kyl was born in Nebraska and received his Bachelor of Arts and LLB (short for the Latin for Legum Baccalaureus) which is an undergraduate degree in law. Mr. Kyl then followed in his father’s footsteps. John Henry Kyl was a U.S. Representative from Iowa. Son Jon was first elected to the U.S. House in 1987 representing Arizona’s 4th district, where he served until his election to the U.S. Senate in 1995. He retired from the upper chamber in 2013.
Preceded by Trent Lott, Kyl took over the reins as Senate Minority Whip and served under Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Upon his appointment today, Mr. Kyl said, “… when I left the Senate almost six years ago, I had no intention of returning. I needed to be with my family.” This is why he accepted the position with the stipulation that he would not commit beyond the end of this congressional session. Kyl is 76-years old.
There’s no doubt Kyl is a man of accomplishment. Time Magazine named him one of America’s Ten Best Senators back in 2006. He also served as Chairman of the RNC from 2003 to 2007. A high-level corporate source who asked not to be named told Liberty Nation today:
“Kyl always had the office door open for his constituents. He was easy to deal with, always helpful and really very likable. I wish I could say the same for Arizona’s other Senator, but that was not my experience with [John] McCain. But Kyl always seemed like a straight-shooter to me, and when he left office back in 2013, I was sad to see him go.”
From a political standpoint, Kyl seemed the “more Republican” of the two Arizona Senators back when he and McCain were serving. In general, you don’t chair the Republican National Committee if you aren’t a reasonably strong conservative. If there was ever a personal rift between Kyl and McCain, it has not been discussed publicly.
At the time of his appointment, Mr. Kyl was working as a lobbyist for D.C. powerhouse law firm Covington & Burling.
For certain, Kyl is a swamp-dweller and not only knows the players but the rules of the political game as well. Still, he is respected among his colleagues and carries the conservative bona fides that the President needs with an almost evenly divided Senate. Unlike McCain, Kyl is not one to “go off the Republican reservation” and will likely make things better for President Trump as he endeavors to push his legislative agenda through the 115th Congress.
Kyl will be sworn into office soon as is the custom when a sitting Senator passes away while in office.