Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has announced that he will retire when his current term expires in 2012.
According to ABC News, Kyl formally revealed his retirement plans at a Feb. 10 press conference at the Phoenix Airport Marriott. With the announcement, the 68-year-old joins four other lawmakers who recently decided to step down: Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).
The news provider reported that Kyl had only $619,000 in his campaign funds last month, which pales in comparison to the $16 million he had raised before his 2006 re-election. Kyl, who is currently the No. 2 Republican in the Senate behind Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), served four terms in the House of Representatives before his election to the Senate in 2000.
"He's leaving now at the top of his game, he has money in the bank, and he’s one of the few long-term incumbents who doesn’t face a Tea Party challenge," a senior Senate GOP aide told FOX News.
The news provider reported that officials from both political parties have already begun to speculate on potential candidates to fill Kyl's office, including Representative Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Democratic governor of Arizona. In addition, some pundits have considered the candidacy of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is rapidly recovering from a gunshot wound stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz.