Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods (D) announced on Friday that he will not run for the Democratic nomination to challenge Sen. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police No evidence of unauthorized data transfers by top Chinese drone manufacturer: study Senate Democratic campaign arm launches online hub ahead of November MORE (R-Ariz.) in 2020.
Woods, who served as the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Bad polling data is piling up for Trump Cindy McCain ‘disappointed’ McGrath used image of John McCain in ad attacking McConnell Report that Bush won’t support Trump reelection ‘completely made up,’ spokesman says MORE’s (R) first chief of staff in Congress, recently switched his party affiliation and had been seriously considering a Senate run as a Democrat.
Woods made the announcement during a Friday interview with local radio station KTAR News 92.3, saying he met with media consultants and pollsters about his chances to defeat McSally.
But he said that given Arizona’s late August primary, he didn’t want to fight against other Democrats in what is expected to be a contested primary.
“I think I can beat her and I think I am the person to beat her. However … it’s pretty clear there would be a Democratic primary if I run,” Woods told KTAR on Friday. “I’m not interested in running the next 18 months against Democrats.”
Woods had backed Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D), who went on to defeat McSally in the 2018 midterm election.
Sinema had been introducing Woods in Washington, D.C., and previously met with Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: US showing signs of retreat in battle against COVID-19 | Regeneron begins clinical trials of potential coronavirus antibody treatment | CMS warns nursing homes against seizing residents’ stimulus checks Schumer requests briefing with White House coronavirus task force as cases rise Schumer on Trump’s tweet about 75-year-old protester: He ‘should go back to hiding in the bunker’ MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Interior faces legal scrutiny for keeping controversial acting leaders in office | White House faces suit on order lifting endangered species protections | Lawmakers seek investigation of Park Police after clearing of protesters Senate advances deputy energy secretary nominee Senate Democratic campaign arm launches online hub ahead of November MORE (D-Nev.), who heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
But as a former Republican, Woods had frustrated some progressives for past comments on a radio show that were critical of now-Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Pelosi: Georgia primary ‘disgrace’ could preview an election debacle in November MORE (D-Calif.), according to Yellow Sheet Report, an Arizona political tip sheet.
Woods said he expected other Democrats to run to the left of him, noting that he’s “not too big on either party.”
Instead, Woods said he plans to get involved in the 2020 presidential race to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE. He said he will endorse a candidate and “be as involved as they’ll let me be.”
With Woods out of the running, retired astronaut Mark Kelly and Rep. Ruben GallegoRuben GallegoDefense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’ Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protests MORE (D-Ariz.) are seen as the top Senate challengers for Democrats. Both have also met with Schumer and Cortez Masto.
Arizona is high on Democrats’ priority list, as they seek to take back the Senate in 2020. Republicans hold a 53-seat Senate majority.
McSally was appointed to fill McCain’s seat until the 2020 special election after it had been initially held by former Sen. Jon Kyl (R).
Whoever wins the seat in 2020 will serve out the remainder of McCain’s term, which expires in 2022.
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