Senate swears in McCain successor Jon Kyl

Senate swears in McCain successor Jon Kyl
© Getty Images

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was sworn in Wednesday to succeed Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCongress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard The Hill's Morning Report — Ford, Kavanaugh to testify Thursday as another accuser comes forward Trump hits McCain on ObamaCare vote 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 FlakeGOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Police arrest 128 protesting Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill GOP launches counteroffensive on Kavanaugh 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 McConnellFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week Press: Judge Kavanaugh must withdraw 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

"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 CornynFord's lawyer: Hearing doesn't appear to be designed for 'fair', 'respectful' treatment GOP opens door to holding Kavanaugh committee vote this week GOP senator accuses Dems of ‘character assassination’ on Kavanaugh 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 TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown 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.