Doug Ducey's appointment on Tuesday of former senator Jon Kyl to succeed the late senator John McCain puts a sometime critic of President Trump on track to join the Senate at a time when the Republican Party has tightened its embrace of him.
Former senator Jon Kyl will inherit John McCain's seat in the upper chamber. John McCain at a memorial service inside the Arizona State Capitol Rotunda on August 29.
"There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl". There, he served as Senate Minority Whip, the second-highest ranking position in the Republican conference.
Voters will decide who they want in the seat in 2020, when they elect someone to serve the rest of McCain's term.
Arizona's governor would be required by state law to appoint another Republican before the 2020 election.
The seat will be up for election again in 2022, the year McCain's term would have ended.
The appointment brings a more conservative bent to the Senate given Kyle's voting record and how it veers from that of McCain, a maverick who sometimes collaborated with Democrats on major legislation.
Kyl was previously a senator from 1995 to 2013, and served in the House before that.
Asked about his relationship with Trump, Kyl said he had met the president only once but that he was honored to assist with the Kavanaugh nomination process.
"I've tried to learn from his example, and I wish I could say I've emulated him, but regrettably, as Arizonans and my Senate colleagues can attest, I still possess a short supply of some of Jon's most conspicuous leadership qualities", McCain said in a tongue-in-cheek portion of his remarks. The seat has been held by two men who were heralded as giants of the Senate: McCain took the seat once held by Sen. Jon Kyl to fill the Senate seat left vacant by Sen. "But I think there's a happy medium", Kyl said.
McCain's office said an estimated 15,000 people came to see the late senator as he lay in state in the Arizona state Capitol for a public viewing several days after his death. After retiring in 2012 he became a lobbyist for the firm Convington and Burling which represents big players in the pharmaceutical industry according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Ducey, meanwhile, will placate Arizona Republicans through his own re-election bid this fall.
An ardent supporter of Kavanaugh, it comes as no surprise that Ducey tapped someone who will vote to confirm him to the Supreme Court.