Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to replace John McCain

Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl to replace John McCain

Because of the timing of McCain's death, the governor's appointment would serve through most of 2020.

If Kyl does leave the Senate after the end of the current congressional term next January 3, Arizona's governor can appoint another senator for the remaining year.

Thousands of Arizonans on Wednesday flocked to the state Capitol Building in Phoenix, where the Republican senator laid in state.

Kyl, a Republican who retired from the Senate in 2012 to spend more time with his family, is now shepherding Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kyl is acting as "sherpa" for Kavanaugh, leading him through the confirmation process. "I am deeply grateful to senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years". Jon Kyl to replace the late John McCain, the governor said at a news conference Tuesday.

McCain died on August 25 at 81 years old - just one day after announcing he would no longer seek treatment for an aggressive brain tumor. "Jon Kyl is a great persuader", then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in the magazine. The inclusion of two former presidents to lead the eulogy was as significant as the exclusion of the current US President Donald Trump - a calibrated decision taken by the resolute John McCain during the last stages of his unsuccessful but courageous grapple with cancer. Obama had defeated McCain in the 2008 US Presidential election and earlier the Arizona Senator lost the Republican nomination to George Bush in mid-2000.

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He served alongside McCain for almost two decades before retiring in 2013, and served as senate minority whip during his service, making him a key Republican leader. "I like people who weren't captured".

Back in 2011, Kyl announced his intentions to retire from public service in 2013.

When asked why he won't commit to serving past the end of the year, Kyl explained that when he left the Senate six years ago, he had no intention of returning.

At the time, Kyl said, "There comes a time when you have to consider other things". Trump had infamously attacked McCain's service, suggesting the veteran isn't a war hero, claiming, "I prefer people who weren't captured". He works for the Washington, D.C., law and lobbying firm Covington and Burling, LLP.

"I see this as a very crucial moment in Arizona's history and it's going to have significant implications nationally", Solop said.