Who Is Jon Kyl? Former Arizona Senator to Replace John McCain

Jon Kyl will replace the late John McCain in the Senate, and serve out at least some of the remainder of McCain's six-year term ending in 2022, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Tuesday.

Kyl, 76, served alongside McCain for his first 18 years in office before retiring in 2013 as the second-highest ranking Republican in the Senate. In a statement on Twitter, McCain's widow, Cindy McCain, expressed her support for the choice. "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 said.

Kyl has been coaching Republican Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through his confirmation ordeal, and is thought to be a reliable vote in getting President Donald Trump's pick confirmed. In a tweet, Ducey wrote that he was "deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served," ending the tweet with the hashtag "Kavanaugh Confirmation."

Kyl has only agreed to serve through the end of the year, leaving the possibility of another appointment by Ducey in the next few months. A special election will be called in 2020 to fill the last two years of McCain's term.

"Senator Kyl is a safe choice for Governor Ducey as he tries to balance his re-election and the McCain and Trump factions of the Arizona Republican Party," said Dan Eberhart, CEO of energy company Canary LLC and a significant Arizona Republican donor, in an emailed statement.

Ducey reportedly called Kyl just hours after McCain's death, asking him to serve. Kyl accepted the next day. Ducey did speak with Trump about the appointment, but only confirmed that it was Kyl on Tuesday, according to a New York Times report.

After retiring from the Senate, Kyl worked as a lobbyist at Covington & Burling, a legal firm that represents such corporations as the National Football League, Amazon, BP Qualcomm, Eli Lilly and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. He is expected to cut ties with his clients while serving.

John McCain represented Arizona in the Senate for six terms, since 1986, before he died of brain cancer last month.

Kyl spoke at McCain's Arizona memorial service last week. "Some have disagreed with some of Senator McCain's votes on policy positions, but that should not diminish our gratitude for his service," he said. "We can be proud he was our senator."

Kyl and Ducey are expected to hold a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon.