Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl is almost certain to become Republican minority whip, the Hill reports, filling an opening created by the retirement of Trent Lott. Kyl apparently won't be opposed, with other GOP senators instead contesting lower leadership roles. Tennessee's Lamar Alexander, who some thought would try for whip, will instead run for conference chairman, Kyl's current post.
“I would be very surprised if Kyl doesn’t move up. That would make the most sense,” one expert says. Lott's departure sets off a game of musical chairs as senators shuffle through the newly vacated leadership ranks. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has not announced when elections will be held, but they might come as early as next week.