Former US Republican Senator Jon Kyl is Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's pick to fill the US Senate seat from Arizona vacated by John McCain, who died last month, the governor said on Tuesday.
Kyl, 76, served with McCain in the Senate and rose to the position of Republican whip, the second-highest leadership post in his party's Senate leadership before retiring in 2013.
"There is no one in Arizona more prepared to represent our state in the U.S. Senate than Jon Kyl," Ducey said of his fellow Republican in a statement. "He understands how the Senate functions and will make an immediate and positive impact benefiting all Arizonans."
McCain's wife Cindy McCain offered her congratulations to Kyl on Twitter.
"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," she wrote.
Once Kyl is sworn in, Republicans will return to the 51 seats they held in the 100-member Senate before McCain's death. Democrats control 49 seats, including two independents who align with them. While no date has been announced for Kyl to take the oath of office, a swearing-in typically occurs promptly after the governor's appointment.
Republican President Donald Trump had long feuded with McCain and did not attend the senator's memorials in Arizona and Washington over the past week, at McCain's request.
McCain, who died of brain cancer at age 81 on Aug. 25, would have been up for re-election to his seventh term in November 2022.
McCain's fellow Arizonan, retiring U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, who has been one of the loudest Republican critics of Trump, praised the pick on Twitter.
"What an excellent choice!" Flake wrote. "There is no one more qualified and Arizona is well served. Kudos to Senator Kyl for his willingness to serve once again."
Kyl served four terms in the US House of Representatives before he was first elected to the Senate in 1994.
He retired at the end of his third term in January 2013. He voted against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
It was the sometimes more moderate McCain who last year thwarted fellow Republicans' attempts to undo Obamacare in a dramatic vote shortly after being diagnosed with cancer in July 2017.
Following Ducey's announcement, Kyl won quick praise from an opposition Democrat.
Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, said given that the Arizona governor was "not going to appoint somebody who is going to vote with us, it's a pretty good appointment." Hoyer was responding to a reporter's question about Kyl's selection.
Hoyer served with Kyl in the House and was in Democratic leadership at the same time Kyl was in Senate Republican leadership.
Kyl now works as a lobbyist at the law firm Covington & Burling and is helping to shepherd U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh through the confirmation process.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)