Internet Explorer 11 is not supported

For optimal browsing, we recommend Chrome, Firefox or Safari browsers.

Arizona Governor Appoints a Former Senator to McCain's Job

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday the choice of former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the seat of the late John McCain _ but only for the next few months.

By Mark Z. Barabak

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday the choice of former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the seat of the late John McCain _ but only for the next few months.

In a surprise wrinkle, Kyl said he would commit to serving only until the end of the current session of Congress, which concludes in January. Ducey, standing alongside Kyl, said he hoped to persuade the former three-term senator to continue in the job and spare the need for another appointment.

"There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Sen. Kyl," Ducey said in a sober appearance announcing his selection. "He is a man without comparable peer. With nearly two decades spent in the Senate, serving alongside John McCain, Sen. Kyl is prepared to hit the ground running."

Kyl was already working with the White House to help shepherd the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh through the Senate. Now, Ducey noted, he will be able to cast a vote in favor, as McCain was expected to do.

Moments before Ducey was scheduled to make his announcement, McCain's widow, Cindy, revealed Ducey's likely choice and offered her support. Cindy McCain has been among those mentioned as a possible successor to her husband.

"Jon Kyl is a dear friend of mine and John's. It's a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona," she wrote on Twitter.

The death of U.S. Sen. McCain at age 81 presented Ducey, a fellow Republican, with both an opportunity and a dilemma. Under state law, he was obliged to appoint a Republican.

But the Arizona GOP is one of the most deeply divided in the country, torn between pragmatists who supported McCain and the state's other GOP senator, Jeff Flake, and fiercely conservative activists who loathed both men, especially for their criticisms of President Donald Trump.

Caught in the middle was Ducey, who is for up re-election in November and can ill afford to antagonize either side of his party, much less the state's sizable number of independent voters turned off by both extremes in either party.

Kyl, 76, was seen as his safest choice. Before stepping down in January 2013, he was well regarded within the GOP and respected by Democrats on Capitol Hill, where he served in a number of leadership positions.

Kyl appeared grave at Tuesday's announcement and made clear he was not taking up the position with great eagerness. "I'm putting my country first," he said, "just as this seat's previous occupant did every single day for more than 30 years."

Kyl said he would not seek the office in 2020, which could make for a lively and competitive contest to fill the seat for the remainder of McCain's term ending in January 2023.

Arizona is currently home to one of the hardest-fought Senate races this November, pitting GOP Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson against Phoenix's Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. The two are vying for the open seat of Flake, who succeeded Kyl and opted to step aside rather than risk losing the Republican primary.

Ducey's announcement came two days after McCain was laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy cemetery following nearly a week of commemorations, including services that drew thousands of mourners in Arizona and Washington, D.C.

(c)2018 Los Angeles Times

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
Special Projects
Sponsored Stories
In recent years, local governments have been forced to adapt to a wildly changing world, especially as it pertains to sending bills and collecting payments.
Workplace safety is in the spotlight as government leaders adapt to a prolonged pandemic.
While government employees, students and the general public had to wait in line for hours in the beginning of the pandemic, at-home test kits make it easy to diagnose for the novel coronavirus in less than 30 minutes.
Governments around the nation are working to design the best vaccine policies that keep both their employees and their residents safe. Although the latest data shows a variety of polarizing perspectives, there are clear emerging best practices that leading governments are following to put trust first: creating policies that are flexible and provide a range of options, and being in tune with the needs and sentiments of their employees so that they are able to be dynamic and accommodate the rapidly changing situation.
Service delivery and the individual experience within health and human services (HHS) is often very siloed and fragmented.
In this episode, Marianne Steger explains why health care for Pre-Medicare retirees and active employees just got easier.
Government organizations around the world are experiencing the consequences of plagiarism firsthand. A simple mistake can lead to loss of reputation, loss of trust and even lawsuits. It’s important to avoid plagiarism at all costs, and government organizations are held to a particularly high standard. Fortunately, technological solutions such as iThenticate allow government organizations to avoid instances of text plagiarism in an efficient manner.
Creating meaningful citizen experiences in a post-COVID world requires embracing digital initiatives like secure and ethical data sharing, artificial intelligence and more.
GHD identified four themes critical for municipalities to address to reach net-zero by 2050. Will you be ready?