PHOENIX — Ending months of speculation, Gov. Doug Ducey said he’s not going to run for the Senate — at least not in 2020.
“I want you to know I’m going to serve the four years of my governorship,” Ducey, just re-elected, said in a Monday interview on KTAR.
The whole issue arises because there has to be a vote in two years to fill out the balance of the six-year term of John McCain. Re-elected in 2016, McCain died earlier this year.
Ducey appointed former U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl. And Kyl has shown no interest in running in 2020 or remaining until 2022.
In fact, Kyl might not even be in Congress that long.
When Kyl was appointed earlier this year he said the only thing he would promise Ducey was that he would serve through the end of the current congressional session, which runs through noon Jan. 3. That appointment, however, allowed Kyl, already promoting Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, to vote on his nomination.
Ducey said Monday that he’s planning to speak with Kyl sometime this month about his future plans.
If Kyl quits as anticipated, Ducey will have to name someone else to serve through 2020.
There has been some speculation the governor would name former state House Speaker Kirk Adams, who just recently announced he was quitting as Ducey’s chief of staff. That would allow Adams, who has said he wants to return to the private sector, to serve as a placeholder until the 2020 election at which point Ducey could run.
But that, the governor said Monday, is not in the cards.
“I was elected to be governor,” said Ducey who picked up 56 percent of the votes cast in last month’s race against Democrat David Garcia. “I plan on being governor for the next four years.”
If Kyl resigns, Ducey has to name another Republican. The governor has steadfastly refused to discuss options until it is clear he will have to fill the post.
One of the names being bandied about is Eileen Klein, who Ducey appointed state treasurer after Jeff DeWit quit to take the post of chief financial officer of NASA. There also have been suggestions to Ducey to name Martha McSally, a two-term member of Congress, who just lost her own bid for Senate to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema.
The governor also faces a federal lawsuit by several individuals who contend that any Ducey appointee — whether Kyl or a successor — cannot serve through 2020. They argue the U.S. Constitution requires the governor to call a special election within six months.
Aides to Ducey say that claim has no merit. No date has been set for a hearing.
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