Former Arizona U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl to Replace John McCain

John Mc Cain, with his wife Cindy Mc Cain at the wedding of their daughter Meghan Mc Cain

Jon Kyl has been tapped to replace the late Sen.

"Well, I don't really have a relationship with President Trump", Kyl said, adding: "I believe in Judge Kavanaugh".

When Kyl joins the Senate, Republicans will restore their 51-to-49 advantage over Democrats for the first time this year.

Kyl, 76, served alongside McCain in the Senate for almost two decades and rose to the No. 2 position of Senate Republican whip.

Kyl has not committed to serving in 2019 and 2020, and he told reporters on Tuesday that he is not interested in running for the seat in 2020.

Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said given that the Arizona governor was "not going to appoint somebody who is going to vote with us, it's a pretty good appointment". By state law the senator will have to be a member of the same party as the departing one, in this case the GOP.

"Kyl tended to be more conservative than McCain throughout his tenure in the Senate", Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said in a telephone interview.

Kyl, an experienced foreign policy hand, will be entering a narrowly divided Senate where Republicans could gain or lose seats in November.

McCain, who died of brain cancer at age 81 on August 25, would have been up for re-election to his seventh term in November 2022.

Republican President Donald Trump had long feuded with McCain and did not attend the senator's memorials in Arizona and Washington over the past week, at McCain's request.

The GOP is hoping he'll be a more reliable partisan vote than McCain, whose opposition to a partial repeal of President Obama's health care law pitched the party into turmoil a year ago.

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

'I think McCain would be very happy with the pick.

At a news conference, Kyl said he has only met Trump once, several months ago. "Honors his legacy while putting some major horsepower for Arizona in the seat, at least for now", he said.

With a nod toward McCain, Kyl said the president's "desire to jump into the middle of or be in the middle of a fight - and by the way that reminds me of somebody - can be detrimental in the end to what he's trying to achieve".

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., also lauded Ducey's selection of Kyl, calling it an "excellent choice".

His funeral service Saturday at Washington National Cathedral was in many ways a stern rebuke of Trump, with presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama eulogizing McCain as an iconic statesman who embodied passionate but civil debate, bipartisan compromise and a commitment to American values.

Kyl has worked closely with Kavanaugh, helping him navigate and prepare for meetings with senators leading up to his confirmation hearing this week.

She's now locked in a tough campaign against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema for the Senate seat Flake is vacating.

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