U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl was hesitant to say this week whether he will continue to serve in the Senate past the end of the year.
Kyl, R-Arizona, returned to the Senate in September, following the death of long-serving U.S. Sen. John McCain, who died Aug. 25 after a 13-month battle with brain cancer.
In appointing Kyl to the seat, Gov. Doug Ducey cited his previous 18 years of experience in the chamber and deep knowledge of national issues.
Kyl agreed to serve at least through the end of the year, although the governor said he hoped Kyl would seriously consider serving until a special election is held in 2020 to fill the rest of McCain’s term, which ends in 2022.
Kyl on Wednesday appeared non-committal about a future in the Senate during an interview with The Arizona Republic after a tour of Phoenix food bank with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Rep. Martha McSally, a Senate hopeful.
Sens. Susan Collins, Jon Kyl stump for Martha McSally
“It’s not for any lack of interest, and it’s certainly an incredible honor to go back to work for the people of Arizona,” he said. “You see from a group of people like this how great they are to work with and to represent. But I have family needs, as well, and so, we’ll decide what to do at that point. I’ll talk to the governor.”
Kyl said he plans on speaking with Ducey about his plans in the next three or four weeks. He noted the Senate still has outstanding work on presidential nominations, the farm bill and agency appropriations.
“We’re going to finish all of that, and then we’ll see,” Kyl said.
Selecting Kyl served Ducey’s near-term political needs as much as it filled a critical seat in Washington.
A decision on a new Senate vacancy, if it happens, could be based more on the GOP’s prospects in 2020 and with an eye toward setting up an incumbent for the 2022 Senate race.
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