Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed former Sen. Jon Kyl as John McCain’s successor Tuesday, pulling him out of political retirement to take the vacant Senate seat of his longtime friend.
“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl,” said Ducey in a statement. “He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans. I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and college of so many years.”
Kyl will fill McCain’s role as Arizona Senator at least until the end of the year, the New York Times reports. If he steps down before special elections in 2020, Ducey would have to select another replacement.
McCain, who served as Arizona senator for over 30 years, died Aug. 25 after battling brain cancer.
McCain’s wife, Cindy, supported Kyl’s appointment on Twitter:
Kyl is no stranger to Arizona politics. He served in the House from 1987 to 1995 followed by the Senate from 1995 to 2013, serving alongside McCain. During his last five years as senator, Kyl served as Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest position in Senate Republican leadership.
As a senator, Kyl supported legislation against abortion and same-sex marriage, according to the nonpartisan website On The Issues, which curates voting records for all politicians. Kyl’s voting history shows that he promotes free trade, business, and the oil industry.
According to Ducey, Kyl is also an expert on water and natural resource issues. Arizona State University has a water policy center named in Kyl’s honor.
Kyl has been working as a lobbyist for the law firm Covington & Burling since leaving the Senate, reports the Times, but he must cut ties with clients before reentering public service.
Earlier this year, Facebook also tapped the former senator, alongside the conservative Heritage Foundation, to look into accusations of anti-conservative bias on the social media platform.
Most recently, Kyl has been helping Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through the Senate vetting process. As Senator, Kyl will be able to cast a vote in Kavanaugh’s favor, potentially pushing the Supreme Court to a conservative majority.