WASHINGTON (NBC) — Former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl has been picked by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey to replace John McCain in the Senate, NBC News confirmed Tuesday.
“Jon 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,” tweeted McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, who first revealed the appointment.
Daniel Ruiz, a spokesman for Ducey, later confirmed that he intended to appoint Kyl.
McCain, who had served Arizona in the Senate for six terms, died last month at the age of 81 from brain cancer.
Under Arizona law, the state’s governor is charged with appointing a replacement to an open Senate seat. Ducey is expected to formally announce his selection of Kyl Tuesday afternoon.
Kyl, 76, was a U.S. senator from Arizona from 1995 to 2013, rising to the position of Senate Minority Whip before he retired.
It is unclear how long Kyl will serve, although a special election will be called in 2020 to fulfill the remainder of McCain’s final term, through 2022. McCain was last re-elected in 2016.