Jon Kyl, who once criticized Trump’s ‘boorish’ style, stands by his remarks

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In Kyl, Ducey tapped a brand-name Arizona politician who was close with McCain and once ascended to the top ranks of Senate leadership.

Kyl will be rejoining the Senate at a time when Democrats are eager to take control of the chamber in this year's midterms. He would provide more of a cushion to a Republican victory in the deeply divided Senate given that McCain had been too sick all year to cast votes in Washington.

But he only committed to serve until January 2019, raising the prospect of requiring Ducey to again appoint a replacement until the seat is up for re-election in November 2020.

Doug Ducey is appointing former US Sen.

"Kyl tended to be more conservative than McCain throughout his tenure in the Senate", Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston, said in a telephone interview.

Once Kyl is sworn in, Republicans will return to the 51 seats they held in the 100-member Senate before McCain's death. "I'm hoping that the senator will consider serving longer". In that cycle, voters will get to decide who fills the remainder of McCain's seat through 2022.

The appointment means Trump could have a reliable vote for the rest of the year.

Cindy McCain praised the selection of Kyl on Twitter, calling him "a dear friend of mine and John's". "It's a great tribute to John that he is prepared to go back into public service to help the state of Arizona", she wrote.

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"I think McCain would be very happy with the pick".

Ducey said Kyl would serve through at least the end of the year and expressed hope he would stay in the seat longer. "Honors his legacy while putting some major horsepower for Arizona in the seat, at least for now", he said.

"I think sometimes, his desire to jump into the middle of a fight or maybe even create a fight - by the way, that reminds me of somebody - but sometimes, that can be detrimental to what he's trying to achieve", Kyl said. "I don't really have a relationship with President Trump". Barry Goldwater after he had served in the House of Representatives.

"When others were looking into Vladimir Putin's eyes, with an eye of understanding him and reaching accommodation with him, John, of course, said: I looked into his eyes and saw KGB", Kyl said.

Kyl will likely also vote on bills containing tens of billions of dollars for Defense Department programs after he represented defense giant Northrop Grumman.

His funeral service Saturday at Washington National Cathedral was in many ways a stern rebuke of Trump, with presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama eulogizing McCain as an iconic statesman who embodied passionate but civil debate, bipartisan compromise and a commitment to American values.

The race pits Republican Rep. Martha McSally against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

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