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Jon Kyl to Retire From Senate, Is Open to Being Vice Presidential Candidate

4 years ago
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Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl announced Thursday that he will not seek reelection to the Senate for a fourth term in 2012.

At a press conference in Phoenix, the stalwart Republican offered no explanation for the decision "other than the fact than I think it's time."

He did, however, add: "I wouldn't close my mind to being a vice presidential candidate. Having said that, I expect the chances of that are zero."

Politico's Mike Allen was among the first to post the news, saying on Twitter Thursday morning that the three-term Republican "will announce his plans to retire at a press conference in Arizona later today, a source confirms."

The Arizona Republic had reported that Kyl would hold a surprise news conference "amid speculation that he may retire."

Kyl, a lawyer who turns 69 in April, was elected to the Senate in 1994 after serving eight years in the U.S. House. A strong conservative, he ranks second in the GOP Senate leadership and serves on the Finance and Judiciary committees. Kyl led an unsuccessful fight last December against the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, which won Senate ratification after a big push from the Obama administration.

He becomes the latest in a growing list of incumbent senators who will not seek reelection in 2012. On Wednesday, Jim Webb (D-Va.) joined Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) in saying he would leave the Senate after the current term.

Unlike the Webb departure, which promises a competitive race for the open seat, Kyl is leaving in a Republican-leaning state where the Democratic candidate will face a significant challenge. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) defeated Barack Obama in his home state in the 2008 presidential race, although Obama captured 45 percent of the vote.

Several Republicans are already being talked up as possible 2012 candidates, including Rep. Jeff Flake and former Rep. John Shadegg. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said Thursday he is "confident that this seat will remain in Republican hands."

But the rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee seemed up for the fight, calling Arizona a "prime pick-up opportunity" for Democrats. Republicans now likely face a divisive primary in Arizona, the campaign committee said, "similar to impending free-for-alls in nearly every other state" with an open Senate seat.

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While pensions are being cut or taken away from the working class in this country this guy will walk away with a one hundred and twenty thousand dollar pension and free healthcare for life payed by the U.S. taxpayers.It's no to unemployment,no to pensions and no to healthcare for the taxpayers but thank you for my kiss in the mail every month for him.He's most likely got a lobbying job lined up on top of it.

February 12 2011 at 8:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Should we have a bill of health on people running for the office of the President. It would seem that some of these people who want to run may have a hard time walking!!!

February 12 2011 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

he is just looking for a second retirement package paid for by the government.

February 12 2011 at 8:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The GOP answers for running for President in 2012 seem old, look old, it may be time for retirement! Just one more thought no talk show hosts please. On the other hand; speaking as a Democrat I would like to thank you for your fine choices!!!!!lol

February 12 2011 at 8:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Richard Havron

Farewell to another regressive Tea Party obstructionist. The Republican Party was founded by progressives and the 2 greatest GOP Presidents were progressives (Lincoln, Roosevelt). Even our greatest conservative GOP Pres., Ronald Reagan, implemented progressive policies on nuclear disarmament, immigration & taxation. Kyl as V.P. in '12...that would be 1812.

February 10 2011 at 10:24 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

we are so fortunate that such a man can make millions after his congressional time

he did little for anyone except himself

i hope he has happiness in his future

February 10 2011 at 9:40 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

It's ample time for him to leave ; may he take John Cornyn, McCain and Lindsey Graham with him - these are ALL remnants from the rubber stamping club " W " used to put a hurting on the nation and our people.

February 10 2011 at 8:30 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply

Friggen FINALLY !! Take McCain with ya !

February 10 2011 at 8:10 PM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply

I would vote for him for VP and I'd like someone like John Cornyn of Texas on the ticket with him.

February 10 2011 at 6:21 PM Report abuse -22 rate up rate down Reply
WD Simmons

Pretty soon the GOP will open up their official POTUS tire shop ad break out all the retreads. For all the "Young Turks" talk they are governed by old men with old ideas. They keep on waxing nostalgic about Ronald Reagan like he was the be all end all of presidents. Well I'm here to tell that he wasn't all that to a whole lot of folks, but he was a gentleman and that is something that just does not exist in that part today.

February 10 2011 at 6:05 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

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