Former Republican Senator Jon Kyl will take over the remainder of the late Senator John McCain’s term in the Senate.
The revelation, first reported by the Arizona Republic, came less than an hour before Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey was expected to unveil McCain’s replacement at a news conference.
“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl,” Ducey said in a statement reported by the Arizona Republic.
“He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans,” he added. “I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years.”
McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, offered praise for Kyl on Twitter, calling him “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.
“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,” Cindy McCain wrote on Twitter.
Kyl was working alongside McCain in the Senate for 18 years before announcing in 2011 that he would not seek reelection and would retire from the upper chamber.
Former Republican Representative Matt Salmon, a former Freedom Caucus co-founder whose name had also been floated for the Senate seat, was quick to praise Ducey’s pick.
“With Flake leaving and McCain’s passing, Arizona has a big hole. Kyl hits the ground running and helps to fill that big hole,” Salmon stated. “He’s trusted and needed at this very challenging time.”
The announcement comes two days after McCain was laid to rest at the U.S. Navy Academy in Annapolis, Md., following a week of national mourning that culminated on Saturday with a service at the National Cathedral in Washington.
McCain died late last month after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. A day before his death, his family announced that the longtime senator had decided to cease medical treatment for the disease.