Jon Kyl resignation leaves Arizona governor to pick replacement

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

Former Sen. Jon Kyl to fill McCain's seat

The late Sen. John McCain is proving tough to replace.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey will have to appoint someone to fill McCain's shoes for the second time in a year, after Sen. Jon Kyl announced his intention to resign on Dec. 31. Kyl never pledged to fulfill the remainder of McCain's term when he agreed to step in for McCain in September. McCain's term isn't up until 2020, so whomever Ducey appoints could serve for nearly two more years.

Ducey announced Kyl's impending resignation in a news release Friday morning.

"When Jon Kyl returned to the Senate in September, our country faced many critical issues," Ducey said in a statement. "Arizona needed someone who could hit the ground running from day one and represent our state with experience and confidence – and that's exactly what Senator Kyl has done. Over the last few months, Senator Kyl served with the same integrity and statesmanship that marked his 26 years in Congress."

Kyl, a former U.S. senator, left the private sector to serve in the Senate.

"Senator Kyl didn't need to return to the Senate," Ducey said. "His legacy as one of Arizona's most influential and important political figures was already without question. But he did return, and I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him. I wish him and his family all the best."

Kyl has expressed concerns with the president's temperament in the past, at one point saying Mr. Trump is his "own worst enemy." When he was appointed to the Senate in September, Kyl said he stands by his prior comments.

"I think sometimes his desire to jump into the middle of the fight … Sometimes that can be detrimental to what he's trying to achieve," Kyl said in September.

When Ducey picked Kyl, the governor conceded, "we're all aware of the size of the void John McCain leaves" and there is "no replacing" him.

First published on December 14, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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