"We all hoped today would never come. But it has come."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has announced that Former Sen. Jon Kyl will fill the late John McCain's Senate seat.
Ducey made the announcement Tuesday morning.
"There's no replacing Sen. John McCain," Ducey said. "But the law requires me to do it."
Ahead of a public news conference, Ducey tweeted: "I am deeply grateful to Senator Kyl for agreeing to succeed his friend and colleague of so many years. Every single day that Jon Kyl represents Arizona in the U.S. Senate is a day our state is well-served."
Ducey calls Kyl a "man without comparable peer."
"There is no one in Arizona with the stature of Sen. Jon Kyl," said Ducey. "Sen. Kyl is prepared to hit the ground running."
Kyl released the following statement about the appointment:
“We are all saddened by the circumstances that required this appointment and appreciate there was only one John McCain. John and I served the people of Arizona for nearly two decades, and in that spirit, along with Senator Flake, I will do my best to ensure Arizonans are well represented in the Senate. There is much-unfinished business, including confirmation of President Trump’s nominees for judicial and executive branch positions, and I look forward to getting to work on behalf of my fellow Arizonans."
John McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, praised Kyl's willingness to go back to the Senate. She says she can "think of no one better to keep fighting for the country and state he held so dear." She tweeted that Kyl is "a true statesman and a friend to my family."
McCain's widow, Cindy McCain, tweeted Tuesday that Kyl "is a dear friend of mine and John’s. It’s a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona."
And U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz. tweeted "Governor Ducey has selected Senator Jon Kyl as Senator McCain’s replacement. What an excellent choice! There is no one more qualified and Arizona is well served. Kudos to Senator Kyl for his willingness to serve once again."
Flake later released a statement that reads:
“Jon Kyl is an excellent choice to fill John McCain’s Senate seat. There is no one more qualified. Arizona will be well-served by Jon’s willingness to once again serve his country.”
But not everyone is happy about Kyl's appointment.
Candidate for Governor David Garcia said that he would have made a different choice.
He released the following statement:
“Had I been governor, I would have appointed someone in the mold of Senator John McCain such as Cindy McCain or Grant Woods who have a history of independence and bipartisanship. Jon Kyl has served as Brett Kavanuagh’s “sherpa” through the nomination process and will undoubtedly vote for his confirmation which puts many rights we take for granted at risk, chief among them are women’s reproductive rights, civil rights, voting rights, environmental rights and workers rights. It is important, now more than ever, to elect strong governors who will oppose a dangerous and reckless Trump Administration.”
Sen. McCain died Aug. 25 after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Ducey had said he would not name a replacement until after McCain's funeral, which was held this past weekend.
Kyl, who served with McCain from 1995 to 2013, could possibly serve in the Senate until the general election in 2020.
"He will serve at least through this session of Congress, and it is my hope he will serve longer," Ducey said.
He will then have to stand for re-election two years later in 2022. That's when McCain's current term is set to expire.
Many names had emerged as possibilities to fill the Senator's seat, including Cindy McCain, former Reps. John Shadegg and Matt Salmon, and former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods.
In the year since McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, Ducey -- who faces a tough re-election race this year -- had refused to talk about who he might appoint to the seat. However, he had said anyone who lobbied for the appointment before the senator's death would be disqualified.
In December 2017, amid rumors McCain was considering resigning his seat, Ducey sent a harsh message to politicians lobbying for him for the appointment. He said on KTAR radio that those people, whom he did not name, have "basically disqualified themselves by showing their true character."
Jon Kyl served in the U.S House from ‘87-‘95 and the U.S. Senate from ‘95-2013. Most recently he’s been helping President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, get nominated. Now, Senator Kyl can cast a vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation
Years ago, before his retirement, Kyl served as the Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest position in the Republican Senate leadership. He also works for the lobbying group at the law firm Covington & Burling.
Back in 2011, Kyl announced his intentions to retire from public service in 2013.
At the time, Kyl said, "There comes a time when you have to consider other things. Caryll and I have concluded that this is the time for us to end my public service in January 2013. There is no reason other than the fact that I think it's time."
"It has been an absolute honor for me to represent the people of Arizona," he had continued.
Elected to his first Senate term in 1994, Kyl, 68, was the Senate Majority Whip. Before being elected to the Senate, Kyl served four terms in the House, representing Arizona’s District 4.
In 2006, he was recognized by Time magazine as one of America's "Ten Best Senators."
"This is not the time for newcomers, and it's not the time for on-the-job training," said Ducey, stating that Kyl's experience will serve the state of Arizona. "Sen. Kyl is a beacon of integrity. He can work across party lines and get results."
So who is Jon Kyl?
During Senator Kyl’s 26 years in Congress, he built a reputation for mastering the complexities of legislative policy and coalition building, first in the House of Representatives and then in the Senate. In 2010, Time magazine called Kyl one of the 100 most influential people in the world, noting his “encyclopedic knowledge of domestic and foreign policy, and his hard work and leadership” and his “power to persuade.” In 2012, Kyl was named Arizonan of the Year by the Arizona Republic.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Kyl helped write reforms to U.S. patent law, the landmark Crime Victims’ Rights Act, as well as important provisions of the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and other anti-terrorism laws. As a member of the Finance Committee, he was the chief advocate of pro-growth tax policies, including low tax rates on income, capital gains, dividends and estates. He was a member of the Joint Select Committee for deficit reductions, the so-called “Super Committee.” He’s been a leader on water and land-use issues, leading to the formation of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University, which bears his name.
Before his public service, Kyl practiced law at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon in Phoenix. In 1985, he served as chairman of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. Born in Oakland, Nebraska, Kyl received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Arizona. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and was editor-in-chief of the Arizona Law Review. He and his wife Caryll have two children, Kristine Kyl Gavin and John Kyl, and four grandchildren.