5 Things To Know About McCain's Senate Replacement, Jon Kyl

Submitted by James Miller of The Political Insider

Arizona governor Doug Ducey has reportedly chosen former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl to replace the late John McCain, according to multiple sources.

Kyl would fill the seat until a special election is held in 2020 to decide who will finish out the final two years of McCain’s term.

Here are five things you need to know about Jon Kyl:

Good Friends With John McCain

Senator Jon Kyl was a close friend of McCain's who served three terms alongside him in Congress. At McCain's services last week, Kyl said, "I will miss him as a friend and as a strong force for America in the world."

He cited the Senator in discussing Ducey's decision to choose a replacement, saying they should be in the same mold as the late Senator.

"John had the experience to do that and he had the instincts, in my view, to make the right kinds of decisions, and I hope whoever the governor appoints can work in that vein," Kyl said.

Cindy McCain has already expressed her support for the decision.

Once Considered For Trump's Secretary of Defense

Kyl was once listed as a consideration for the role of Secretary of Defense under the Trump administration.

His foreign policy resume was a prime reason.

Time Magazine had listed Kyl as one of its 100 most influential people in the world in 2010, highlighting his "encyclopedic knowledge of domestic and foreign policy, and his hard work and leadership" and "power to persuade."

But the Senator eventually told president-elect Trump in late November of 2016 that he had no interest in serving in government again.

General James Mattis was eventually selected for the post, and Kyl has apparently rekindled his interest in government service.

Helped Guide Brett Kavanaugh

Kyl was tapped to help guide President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, through the Senate.

He was chosen as "chief sherpa" to help lead Kavanaugh through an incredibly polarized and partisan Senate confirmation process.

"I have made an effort not to be partisan in an in-your-face sense," Kyl once claimed. "Ordinarily, I don’t talk about Republicans and Democrats. I talk about ideas."

Defended Trump From Media Attacks

Following a comment in which then-candidate Trump claimed he could "shoot somebody" in the street and "I wouldn’t lose voters," Kyl defended him by explaining to the media that he wasn't being literal.

"I think we all recognize that Donald Trump speaks loosely I don’t think anybody actually thought that he would shoot somebody," he responded.

Still, Kyl has been willing to critique Mr. Trump when necessary, saying his "boorish" style sometimes hurts the cause.

"I don’t like his style," he claimed. "I think he’s his own worst enemy."

Once Supported Impeachment ... Of Obama

Kyl, in 2012, wasn't a big fan of Barack Obama selectively enforcing immigration laws, especially coming from a border state like Arizona.

"If the president insists on continuing to ignore parts of the law that he doesn’t like, and simply not enforce that law, the primary remedy for that is political," he said during a radio interview.

"Now if it’s bad enough and if shenanigans involved in it, then of course impeachment is always a possibility," he added, though he confessed it hadn't been an actual topic of conversation at the time.


With all of these facts laid out, it's most important to try and understand how Kyl would serve in his new role. Steven Law, Senate Leadership Fund President, and CEO summed it up, congratulating Ducey on making Kyl the choice to replace Sen. McCain.

"I couldn’t imagine a more responsible and thoughtful conservative to represent the State of Arizona in its time of grief than Sen. Jon Kyl," he said. Can't ask for much more than that. Let's hope he's slightly more 'responsible and thoughtful' as a conservative than McCain had been in recent years.