Gov. Doug Ducey announced Tuesday that Jon Kyl, a former senator, will replace Sen. John McCain in the U.S. Senate.
“There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl. He understands how the Senate functions, and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans," Governor Doug Ducey said in a release.
Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl served alongside McCain in the U.S. Senate for nearly two decades. He represented the state in D.C. from 1995 through January 3, 2013, at one time serving Senate Minority Whip. Prior to his time in the Senate, Kyl served as representative in the U.S. House from 1987 to 1995.
"We can be proud he was our senator. I consider it a great privilege to have served with John and I will miss him as a friend and as a strong force for America in the world," Kyl said at the memorial service for McCain in Phoenix.
McCain's widow Cindy tweeted out the expected appointment about 30 minutes before the governor was expected to hold a news conference.
Cindy McCain wrote that "John 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."
Ducey appointed a successor nine days after McCain died from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Arizona's other current Senator, Jeff Flake, called Kyl "an excellent choice," in statement released Tuesday, adding, "there is no one more qualified" to serve the state.
Ducey is required to appoint a replacement under Arizona law. The governor's spokesperson said last week that Ducey would wait until the services for McCain had concluded to select someone to replace the Arizona senator.
This appointment comes at a critical time, as the U.S. Senate begins the nomination process for Brett Kavanaugh, Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema face off for Arizona's other U.S. Senate, and Gov. Ducey himself is up for re-election.
The appointee named by Ducey could serve in the Senate until the 2020 election, but Kyl said he was only committing to serving in the role through the current session of Congress.
The seat will be up for election again in 2022, the year McCain's term would have ended.
McCain served more than 30 years in the U.S. Senate prior to his death.