Senate swears in McCain successor Jon Kyl

Senate swears in McCain successor Jon Kyl
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Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was sworn in Wednesday to succeed Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain#JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday #JohnMcCainDay trends on Trump's 73rd birthday New poll finds little GOP support for spending cuts to specific federal programs MORE (R-Ariz.), who died of brain cancer late last month.

Kyl, a former senator, was sworn in on the Senate floor. GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeDemocrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Democrats needle GOP on standing up to Trump Amash gets standing ovation at first town hall after calling for Trump's impeachment MORE (Ariz.) escorted Kyl through the chamber, where Vice President Pence delivered the oath.

Pence and Kyl are expected to reenact the swearing in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' MORE (R-Ky.) praised Kyl from the Senate floor on Wednesday, saying Kyl was "as well equipped as you can imagine" to follow in McCain's footsteps.

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"Our friend and former colleague, Sen. Jon Kyl, is one of the most serious, most expert, most effective legislators with whom I've had the pleasure of serving," McConnell said.

Kyl also has the support of McCain's family. His wife, Cindy, and daughter Meghan both tweeted their appreciation of the choice.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) announced on Tuesday that he was appointing Kyl to fill McCain's seat. Under state election law, Kyl could hold the seat through a special election that will be held in 2020.

"John McCain was an American hero," Ducey said in announcing his decision on who would replace McCain. "We're all aware of the size of the void John McCain leaves."

Ducey added that while he tried to figure out who to name he "kept coming back to one name and one person: Jon Kyl."

But it's unclear if Kyl will stay in the Senate through 2020.

Kyl, who left the Senate in 2013, said he will serve at least until the end of this Congress, in January, but has not committed to serving in 2019 and 2020. He said on Tuesday that he is not interested in running for the seat in 2020.

With Kyl now in office, the Senate is back up to 100 senators and renews the Republicans' 51-49 majority. McCain, who announced in July 2017 that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer, had been absent since late last year and had effectively capped Republicans at 50 votes.

Kyl, 76, served with McCain in the Senate for 18 years and became the Senate Republican whip, the No. 2 post currently held by Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Overnight Health Care: Pelosi to change drug-pricing plan after complaints | 2020 Democrats to attend Planned Parenthood abortion forum | House holds first major 'Medicare for All' hearing MORE (Texas). Kyl announced in 2011 that he would not seek reelection and would retire from the upper chamber.

Kyl has been a frequent face on Capitol Hill recently accompanying Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE's Supreme Court nominee, to his meetings with senators.

Kyl's swearing in means he will now be in place to vote on Kavanaugh's nomination later this month.