Former senator to replace McCain, at least until January

Sen. Jon Kyl walks through the Capitol on Nov. 15 2011

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, R, will appoint former Sen.

Both Meghan McCain and her mother, Cindy, tweeted their support for Kyl, who they described as a friend of the family and a statesman who is well-suited to take up McCain's mantle in the Senate.

Republican Jon Kyl cited his sense of duty in accepting the appointment but said he's only committing to serve until the end of the congressional session next January 3. It gives Republicans another reliable vote as Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court is being debated and another debt ceiling deadline looms, and it solves a contentious issue before Ducey faces re-election in November.

Kyl said he made a decision to return to the Senate because of his sense of duty "to the state I love", adding, "I'm putting my country first just as this seat's previous occupant did every single day".

"When others were looking into Vladimir Putin's eyes, with an eye of understanding him and reaching accommodation with him, John, of course, said: I looked into his eyes and saw KGB", Kyl said.

"No", Kyl said flatly when asked whether he might one day serve again.

It was the sometimes more moderate McCain who previous year thwarted fellow Republicans' attempts to undo Obamacare in a dramatic vote shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in July 2017.

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 previous year. Kyl's appointment will make it possible for him to vote for the nomination.

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The GOP is hoping Kyl will 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 previous year. Kyl, 76, was sworn in as the new senator from the southwestern state of Arizona in a brief ceremony on the Senate floor.

"I think McCain would be very happy with the pick. He is a man without comparable peer", Ducey said. "Senator Kyl is filling the shoes of John McCain and Barry Goldwater before him".

"I do know I will not seek this seat in 2020, nor any other office in the future", Kyl said.

That said, Kyl has not ruled out remaining in the seat until 2020. "His patience, for example, his meticulous preparation and thoroughness, are, I'm sorry to say, not qualities that I'll be remembered for, but they've been indispensable to the people of our state".

Following Ducey's announcement, Kyl won quick praise from an opposition Democrat.

President Donald Trump tweeted: "Jon Kyl will be an extraordinary senator representing an extraordinary state, Arizona". This is why he accepted the position with the stipulation that he would not commit beyond the end of this congressional session.

Kyl is well-respected in Arizona and has been able to avoid numerous battles with activists that complicated McCain's career and that of the state's other senator, Jeff Flake, who is retiring because his feud with Trump made his re-election impossible.

A special election will be held in 2020 to choose a replacement for McCain.

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