Although this situation won’t constitute a flip for Democrats — yet, at least — there’s now another high profile Republican on their way out of Congress after a blue wave of Democratic electoral victories. Earlier this year, Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed former Senator Jon Kyl to serve in the seat John McCain vacated upon his death, and he’s now resigning ahead of the seating of the next Congress in early January.
In his resignation letter addressed to Ducey and hand delivered to the governor’s office this past Thursday, Kyl explained:
‘When I accepted your appointment, I agreed to complete the work of the 115th Congress and then reevaluate continuing to serve. I have concluded that it would be best if I resign so that your new appointee can begin the new term with all other Senators in January 2019.’
His resignation becomes effective December 31. He’d previously served in Congress until 2013 and risen to the point of being the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate.
Governor Ducey offered:
‘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. But he did return, and I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him.’
While in the Senate this time around, he didn’t particularly distinguish himself, sticking to the familiar conservative line that he’d held to in the past through means including voting for Trump Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.
Ducey’s office has said a replacement will be named in the near future but few more details have emerged. There’s been speculation that the governor might appoint outgoing Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally, who lost her bid to take over outgoing Republican Jeff Flake’s Senate seat to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in a late surprise. That outcome was a rare bright spot in the Senate map in the midterms for Democrats, who lost a number of seats across the United States. Sinema, meanwhile, was the first Democrat her state chose for the U.S. Senate in decades.
Besides McSally, individuals who’ve been the subject of speculation include Ducey’s former chief-of-staff Kirk Adams and state Treasurer Eileen Klein. Ducey is required by law to name a Republican to the seat, and whoever he chooses will serve until 2020, when there will be a special election to determine who will serve the remainder of McCain’s final term, which only began after the 2016 election.
There remain a number of possible poignant political changes on the horizon beyond a shift in who occupies McCain’s old Senate seat. There’s the very real possibility, for instance, that Donald Trump loses the presidency in 2020 to a Democrat.
In the meantime, there are two set years of divided government coming our way thanks to Democrats taking control of the U.S. House — and in what’s perhaps a sign of things to come, we’re already heading towards a government shutdown over funding disagreements. Democrats refuse to get behind Trump’s proposed border wall, and the president has consistently refused to move forward without it.
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