Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey confirmed on Friday that Sen. Jon Kyl will be stepping down before the New Year, giving Ducey a chance to appoint a second Republican to fill the Senate seat once held by John McCain before voters get a chance to decide for themselves.
In a press release, Ducey said that Kyl had informed him of his decision to return to private life on Wednesday, and that he would step down on Dec. 31. According to his resignation letter, Kyl claimed that “when [I] accepted [Ducey’s] appointment, I agreed to complete the work of the 115th Congress, and then reevaluate continuing to serve.”
For anyone keeping track of, y’know, actual results, Kyl’s short return to the Senate yielded exactly one major achievement: Foisting a credibly accused sexual predator onto the United States Supreme Court. Beyond that, Kyl’s tenure was effectively that of a seat filler—which seems to have been the plan all along: Say nice things about John McCain’s legacy, put an extreme conservative on the bench, and quietly restock his depleted list of congressional contacts ahead of a likely return to corporate lobbying.
“When Jon Kyl returned to the Senate in September, our country faced many critical issues,” Ducey wrote in his statement. “Arizona needed someone who could hit the ground running from day one and represent our state with experience and confidence—and that’s exactly what Senator Kyl has done.”
Kyl’s lasting legacy will that of someone who effectively handed the Republicans a major victory, and then gave them a whole other Republican senator on his way out—which, given his extremely conspicuous delay tactics, seems to have been exactly what John McCain would have wanted.
There’s no word yet on who Ducey will pick to replace Kyl. According to the Washington Post, Republican Rep. and alt-right coddler Martha McSally had long been seen as a frontrunner for the spot, after losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in November to succeed GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. However, The Post claims, McSally is no longer quite as sure a thing as was one believed, with Ducey also considering appointing Kirk Adams, his own chief of staff and a former speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives.
If nothing else, though, this whole dumb game of musical Republican chairs makes it clear that for now, John McCain’s blatantly partisan badness will continue unabated.