WASHINGTON - Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.. plans to resign from the Senate on Dec. 31, vacating the seat he has held since the death of Sen. John McCain and clearing the way for Arizona's governor to name another Republican to the post.
Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, said in a statement Friday that he had received a resignation letter from Kyl. Ducey is required under law to name another Republican to the seat.
After McCain's death in August, Ducey appointed Kyl, a well-known former Republican senator, to fill his seat. Kyl committed to serving through at least the end of this year - making no promises about returning for the 2019 Congress.
Until recently, it appeared that Ducey was likely to appoint Rep. Martha McSally, who narrowly lost a race for Arizona's other Senate seat in November. But her stock has fallen in the eyes of the governor, according to two people familiar with his thinking, as Ducey approaches one of the most significant decisions of his political career.
In his statement, Ducey said that "Senator Kyl didn't need to return to the Senate."
“His legacy as one of Arizona’s most influential and important political figures was already without question,” Ducey said. “But he did return, and I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him. I wish him and his family all the best.”