Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has officially announced that he is retiring at the 2012 election, after three six-year terms in the Senate and four two-year terms in the House of Representatives -- a total of 26 years in Washington.
Kyl, who will be 70 years old at the time of the 2012 election, told a press conference in Phoenix that when he was first elected to the Senate in 1994, he had anticipated that he would serve only two terms. But when 2006 came around, and Republicans were not performing well politically, the party's chances of holding the seat had been a factor in his decision to run again.
"But there comes a time when you have to consider other things," said Kyl. "In the Bible it says, of course, that there is a time for every thing."
Republican sources have told TPMDC that among the likely candidates for the seat is Rep. Jeff Flake. Others could possibly run from the Arizona House delegation, such as Rep. Trent Franks or the recently-retired former Rep. John Shadegg.
During the Q&A with reporters, Kyl also said that he had decided some time ago that "unless something significant changed, I probably wouldn't run. But I didn't want to make that decision until after the last election, and we had the opportunity to talk it over in light of the current circumstances."
"But people say, you could win re-election," he said at one point. "And i think i could. But i think it's better to leave when in effect people have a fairly good attitude about you, rather than be hounded out of office like, unfortunately, some of my colleagues are experiencing."