Arizona governor Doug Ducey has chosen Jon Kyl to fill the Senate seat formerly held by John McCain. Kyl, age 76, used to represent Arizona in the Senate. He did so for three terms. Kyl was one of the body’s most powerful and effective members.
Kyl has agreed to serve at least through the end of the year, a representative for Ducey said. If he opts to step down after the end of the session, the Republican governor would be required to appoint another replacement.
There are advantages to appointing Kyl. As a three-term former Senator, he will be able to hit the ground running. He’s also a reliable conservative vote, though not the most conservative qualified politician Ducey could have picked.
The advantage of nominating a fresher face would have been to provide a leg up to that person in the 2020 election. It’s possible that Kyl will step down in 2019. That would enable Ducey still to confer the leg up. What’s the likelihood of Kyl stepping down early? I don’t know.
Ducey himself is facing what might become a tough reelection race this year. Appointing the popular Kyl seems like a good, safe play in this regard.
IF Ducey loses and Kyl doesn’t want to continue, Ducey will have to appoint a replacement before his term ends. He could appoint himself, though one hopes he wouldn’t.
The main thing, though, is that Ducey didn’t appoint anyone named McCain. That’s a win in my book.
UPDATE: I should think that Sen. Kyl will, I think, be an important force in opposing the leniency-for-criminals legislation being pushed by the Democrats and some Republicans.