PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain's widow on Tuesday said former Sen John Kyl will fill her late husband's seat.
Cindy McCain made the statement on Twitter minutes before Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was due to make the formal announcement.
Kyl, a Republican, is currently shepherding Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. His appointment may make it possible for him to vote for the nomination.
He is expected to be a placeholder, not running in 2020, when voters will get to decide who fills the remainder of McCain's seat through 2022. Then the seat will be up again for a full six-year term.
Kyl will be entering a narrowly divided senate where Republicans could gain or lose seats in November.
The GOP is hoping he'll be a more reliable partisan vote than McCain, whose opposition to a partial repeal of President Obama's health care law pitched the party into turmoil last year.
The choice will also have political consequences for Ducey. He's up for re-election this November against Democratic challenger David Garcia. For Republican voters who are on the fence about Ducey, a choice they dislike could cause them to withdraw their support for the incumbent or stay home on Election Day.
Kyl is a well-respected Republican in Arizona who spent 26 years representing the state before becoming an attorney and lobbyist.
He was able to avoid many of the battles with activists that complicated McCain's career and that of the state's other senator, Jeff Flake. Flake is retiring because his feud with Trump made his re-election impossible.
Filling McCain's seat marks a turning point in Arizona political history. That seat in particular has been held by two men who were heralded as giants of the Senate: McCain took the seat once held by Sen. Barry Goldwater after he had served in the House of Representatives.
McCain's office said an estimated 15,000 people came to see the late senator as he laid in state in the Arizona state Capitol for a public viewing several days after his death. Nearly 3,500 people gathered at the North Phoenix Baptist Church the following day for a memorial service where former Vice President Joe Biden spoke.
- Third Kavanaugh accuser submits allegation to Senate panel
- The Latest: Donald Trump open to changing mind on Brett Kavanaugh
- Make-or-break Senate hearing day for Brett Kavanaugh, accuser
- Kavanaugh says he won't let 'false accusations' push him out
- GOP lines up Brett Kavanaugh vote plan as showdown hearing nears
- Brett Kavanaugh’s 2nd accuser never sought spotlight, friends say
- GOP advances Kavanaugh nomination after Jeff Flake calls for FBI probe (UPDATED)
- Key senators undecided as Senate poised to vote on Brett Kavanaugh
- Brett Kavanaugh to hear first arguments as Supreme Court justice
- Centrist Democrat Kyrsten Sinema flips Arizona Senate seat
- Yale classmate recalls Brett Kavanaugh as frequent, heavy drinker
- Democrats question Brett Kavanaugh's credibility, temperament
- Senate gets FBI Kavanaugh report, with initial vote Friday
- Senate Judiciary panel's top Democrat calls for delay in Kavanaugh hearing after new allegation
- Republicans brush aside Dems' effort to delay Kavanaugh vote
- Accuser's story of attack roils plan for Brett Kavanaugh vote
- The Latest: Trump says 'little delay' possible on Kavanaugh
- Day 2 of hearings finds Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the hot seat
- Brett Kavanaugh avoids major missteps, closing 2 days of testimony
- Republicans lack votes -- and appetite -- to end 'Obamacare'
- Showdown between Brett Kavanaugh, accuser scheduled for next week
- GOP warns time running out for Brett Kavanaugh's accuser to talk
- Brett Kavanaugh's accuser says she would testify under right terms
- New sexual-misconduct accusation rocks Kavanaugh nomination
- Hearing not yet set: Dems, GOP arguing on witnesses (UPDATED)
- Brett Kavanaugh's accuser wants FBI to investigate before hearing
- Women supporting Brett Kavanaugh find themselves in storm's center
- John McCain's final statement: Americans have 'more in common'
- Final farewells to Sen. John McCain begin at Arizona Capitol
- Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court (UPDATED)
- Sotomayor defends 'wise Latina' remark in second day before Senate committee
- VIDEO: Sotomayor called 'justice for all Americans' as hearings kick off
- Aid prospects darken for desperate U.S. carmakers
- Auto bailout faces tough fight
- McCain: â€˜I`m going to win it`
- AP Essay: Aretha Franklin, John McCain and the 1960s
- Washington prepares to say goodbye to late Sen. John McCain
- John McCain's death shadows Republican primary in Arizona
- War hero and presidential candidate John McCain dies at 81