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Arizona Republican Jon Kyl, one of online gaming’s most vocal opponents, has announced that he will not seek re-election next year.

“There comes a time when you have to consider other things,” said Senator Kyl at a recent news conference.  “There is more to life than working in the United States Senate. My heart says it’s time.”

Listed in the April 2006 issue of Time Magazine as one of “America’s Ten Best Senators,” Kyl that same year was one of the architects behind the current Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The bill itself was passed at the last possible moment, just before Congress ended their session prior to the year’s elections.

The Republican Party has long been opposed to the legalization of online poker on American soil, but hope remains that a more sympathetic replacement can be found. The first candidate to throw their hat into the ring is fellow G.O.P. Member Jeff Flake. The senior member of Arizona’s U.S. House delegation is said to lean to the Libertarian side of many issues, and could be more open to future legislation in the poker realm.

National Democrats have, not surprisingly, taken a strong interest in the matter. Several candidates are considering their options, including Jim Pederson, who unsuccessfully attempted to unseat Kyl in 2006 almost entirely on his own dime. Former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, also a member of the Democratic Party, has also been mentioned as a possible suitor.