U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl will step down at the end of the year.
Kyl, who never planned to serve beyond this congressional term, will step down from the appointed position, leaving Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint someone new to serve until 2020.
There is no word yet from the Governor’s Office on who Ducey will appoint to fill the seat until the 2020 special election.
Kyl informed Ducey of his decision in a Dec. 12 letter, in which he said it was an honor and a privilege to serve.
“When I accepted your appointment, I agreed to complete the work of the 115th Congress and then reevaluate continuing to serve,” Kyl wrote. “I have concluded that it would be best if I resign so that your new appointee can begin the new term with all the other Senators in January 2019.”
In a statement from the Governor’s Office, Ducey said Kyl served with the same integrity and statesmanship that defined his more than two decades in Congress
“When Jon Kyl returned to the Senate in September, our country faced many critical issues,” Ducey said. “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.”
Former U.S. Senate candidate Martha McSally and Kirk Adams, Ducey’s former chief of staff, are both rumoured to be on the shortlist of possible appointments.
Ducey met with McSally at the Capitol on Dec. 3, but he would not say what the two talked about when he was questioned by reporters at a recent event.
Ducey has previously said he will look to appoint someone who can run for the seat in 2020.
“Ideally, I’d like to find someone who could not only represent the citizens of Arizona, but that could run for re-election,” the governor said on a local podcast.
The Governor’s Office hasn’t given any details of when Ducey will make an appointment, but he will likely move quickly in order to get someone sworn in and settled before the new congressional term starts next year.
By law, Ducey must appoint a Republican to fill the seat that was previously occupied by Sen. John McCain. Ducey appointed Kyl to the seat on Sept. 4, shortly after McCain’s death and the memorial services that followed.
Democrats are already lining up to run in the 2020 special election. Rep. Ruben Gallego, former Attorney General Grant Woods and Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, may all seek the Democratic nomination.
Arizona will hold a 2020 special election to fill the seat, but the seat will be back up for election two years later at the conclusion of what would have been McCain’s six-year term.