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 McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' 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 McSallySchumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up GOP group launches million ad campaign pressing Kelly on filibuster Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal 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.