Jon Kyl to resign from Senate on Dec. 31

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) will resign from the Senate on Dec. 31, leaving Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to fill the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSantorum: Trump should 'send emails to a therapist' instead of tweeting Meghan McCain: Trump obsessed with my father because he 'will never be a great man' CNN's Amanda Carpenter: Trump attacking McCain 'to distract' from 'questions about the Russia investigation' MORE's (R) seat for a second time.

Ducey’s office announced Friday that Kyl’s resignation letter was hand-delivered to his office on Thursday afternoon. His office said that he’ll make an announcement about appointing Kyl’s replacement “in the near future.”

Kyl, who initially served in the Senate from 1995 to 2013, was appointed in September to fill McCain’s seat after he passed away from brain cancer in August. Before his return to the Senate, Kyl worked as lobbyist for the Washington-based firm Covington & Burling.

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“Senator Kyl didn’t need to return to the Senate. His legacy as one of Arizona’s most influential and important political figures was already without question,” Ducey said in a Friday statement.

“But he did return, and I remain deeply grateful for his willingness to step up and serve again when Arizona needed him. I wish him and his family all the best.”

When joining the Senate this fall, Kyl had hinted that he planned to only serve in the Senate until year’s end. 

Prior to Kyl’s announced departure on Friday, speculation was already swirling about whom Ducey would tap to replace him.

Ducey has remained mum on that decision, but outgoing Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOvernight Health Care: CDC pushes for expanding HIV testing, treatment | Dem group launches ads attacking Trump on Medicare, Medicaid cuts | Hospitals, insurers spar over surprise bills | O'Rourke under pressure from left on Medicare for all Dem group launches ads attacking Trump's 'hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts' Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Ariz.), who narrowly lost a heated Senate race in November, is considered a top prospect. 

Another potential name is Kirk Adams, Ducey’s chief of staff who recently departed the governor’s office.

There will be a special election in November 2020 to serve out the remaining two years of McCain’s term.