A new poll suggests that Sen. Jon Kyl is well-positioned to seek a fourth U.S. Senate term next year if he chooses to run again.
The big question in political circles is whether he will.
Kyl, 68, is expected to announce soon whether he will seek re-election or retire. As GOP whip, Kyl is the No. 2 Senate Republican and the highest-ranking Arizonan on Capitol Hill since the late Rep. John Rhodes was House Republican leader in the 1970s. For the past two years, Kyl has been a mainstay on the national stage as one of the most prominent Republican critics of President Barack Obama’s agenda.
“The old cliche is that it’s really hard to give up that kind of power once you have it,” said Bruce Merrill, a veteran political scientist and professor emeritus at Arizona State University. “But if there’s somebody who I think could walk away from power because he would feel that it was the right time to do so, it would be Jon Kyl.”
So far, Kyl has kept mum about his future plans, fueling speculation in Washington and at home. But some local political observers say he has taken steps consistent with a nascent re-election bid, including making a commitment to headline a Feb. 12 Republican Lincoln Day dinner in Kingman and participate in other grass-roots Lincoln Day activities around the state.
Kyl was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
But if he is inclined to mount another political campaign, he got some good news from a new statewide poll that indicates he is poised to defeat some prominent possible Democratic challengers, including former Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.