Arizona governor eyes several possible Kyl replacements

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) is considering at least three prominent Republicans as possible replacements to fill Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R) seat as donors vent about Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyKelly raises million in third quarter Ruben Gallego is left's favorite to take on Sinema Texas not hiring private contractor for election audit MORE’s (R) failed bid for the state’s other Senate seat this year.

McSally remains a contender, according to several sources with knowledge of Ducey’s decisionmaking process.

But a memo McSally’s team released after her nail-biter loss to Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema (D) angered donors who thought McSally had not shown any introspection about how she might have run the race differently, according to some who spoke with those donors.


In the memo, McSally’s campaign team pointed to Sinema’s significant spending advantage, aided by outside groups that spent far more than their Republican rivals.

“A certain segment of [Arizona] Republicans was outright hostile to President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day MORE, and was against the [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh nomination,” McSally’s team wrote. “This segment of moderate Republicans, especially woman [sic], proved very difficult to bring home to a Republican candidate that supported President Trump and the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh.”

Arizona Republicans said Ducey is also considering state Treasurer Eileen Klein (R) to fill Kyl’s seat. Ducey appointed Klein, a former president of the state Board of Regents and chief of staff to former Gov. Jan Brewer (R), to the treasurer’s post after her predecessor stepped down to take a job in the Trump administration.

Also on the list is Kirk Adams, a former Speaker of the state House of Representatives and Ducey’s first chief of staff.

Kyl, whom Ducey appointed after Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate confirms four Biden ambassadors after delay Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' Grant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 MORE (R) died earlier this year, said Friday he will resign from office effective Dec. 31.

Those close to Ducey said he is unlikely to make his deliberations public. Ducey kept his decision to appoint Kyl contained to just a small handful of staffers and advisers before making a public announcement after McCain’s funeral.

Whomever Ducey chooses will have to defend the seat in two years. Several prominent Democrats have already said they are considering bids in a state that has trended slowly to the left in recent years, including Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoSinema advisers resign, calling her an obstacle to progress Sinema's no Manchin, no McCain and no maverick Sinema trails potential primary challengers in progressive poll MORE (D) and Grant Woods, the former Republican attorney general who served as McCain’s chief of staff in the House.