Washington (CNN) - Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, will not seek re-election for a 4th Senate term, according to two GOP sources familiar with his decision.
Kyl is now the 5th senator to announce he will leave the Senate. His departure will leave vacant a powerful spot in the Senate GOP leadership, and opens new speculation about the future of Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota.
Thune is contemplating a run for president, but now has the chance to move up and become the Assistant Republican leader, or GOP Senate Whip, if he decides to stay. A Thune source tells CNN he will make his decision by the end of this month.
As for Kyl, Senate Republicans will be losing a fierce partisan and articulate advocate on a wide range of issues. Kyl joins Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Democratic Senator Jim Webb of Virginia who announced Wednesday he would not run for re-election.
In recent years Kyl has been at the center of debates on everything ranging from interrogation of terror suspects, immigration, and most recently, the New START treaty.
He is known as a tough negotiator – someone Democrats have told CNN in the past they respect but also fear at the negotiating table.
Kyl has also been a leading voice from his perch on the Senate Judiciary Committee, especially when it came to questioning President Obama's Supreme Court nominees.
I nominate Gabby Giffords to replace Senator Kyl. This courageous lady deserves a larger platform for her willingness to stand up to extremists. Go Gabby!
THANK GOD FOR THAT, This man is currupt and partisan as they come. WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOO
Good Riddance. He's never been anything more than a lying hypocrit. Arizona can do better than him (I HOPE). Now, if he'll just take Death Panel Gov. Brewer with him, that state will improve 200%.
GREAT another rightwing nut gone. Hope you enjoy your retirement which I'm sure will include a very generous Healthcare package....even better than the one you want to deny other Americans.
I do not think this pile of hypocrisy ever worked.
Bummer... this guy is a great Senator. Very knowledgeable and thoughtful. He'll be misssed.
OK, here is Sarah's backup plan taking shape; has she changed her residence to Arizona yet?
I hope Jan Brewer runs for his seat just to see the liberals foam at the mouth.
This is good news for working Americans.
Kyl knows he will not get re elected anyway. Thats the best way out. He not done anything for Arizona since in office. McCain will not get re elected either.
Good riddance! Send the memo to Sen. McShame as well. You AZ U.S. senators are out of touch and it't time for both of you to go.
Both party losing good politician yesterday Webb today Kyl
Best news of the day . . . am anxiously awaiting Bristol Palin's intent to replace Kyl . . . you go girl!
Time for a representative with less antiquated views than uber partisan Sen. Kyl.
Well, it sounds like within few Months or in less than Five Years, we are going to see more WH employees and public servants are ready to announce retirement or to quit their jobs.
They start to understand, what the future holds for them. It never been like this before. They make the WH positions CHEAPER.
Americans are fed-up on what they seen in this World. It sounds like the end of the World is very near.
THE SIGN AND THE SEAL
Soon, this World will loose good leaders and it will come to the END. What a tragedy.
Good by Planet Earth.
GOOD! I live in Az and he and Mccain need to go!!!
He'll retire and become a lobbyist for the Koch Brothers or Ratheon now that he got his tax cuts for the rich extended. Kick rocks!
He NEEDS to!!
First good news I've heard all day. Good riddance.
Thank you for your service, Senator Kyl. The Republicans will keep the house and capture the senate!!! This senate seat will stay in Republican hands. GOP 2012!
For once, Kyl is actually putting country before party. We'll be much better off without him.
He's expecting a tea-party driven primary, good call. Assuming her good progress, it might even be Gifford's seat in two years.
Finally! Kyl gets something right. Now if McCain would leave it would be a real holiday.