Former Arizona AG Grant Woods says he won’t seek U.S. Senate seat

Dillon Rosenblatt//February 8, 2019

Former Arizona AG Grant Woods says he won’t seek U.S. Senate seat

Dillon Rosenblatt//February 8, 2019

Democrat Donkey

Republican-turned-Democrat Grant Woods announced Friday he will not run for the U.S. Senate in 2020.

Woods announced his decision on the Bruce and Pamela show on KTAR News 92.3 Friday morning.

“I am not going to run as a Democrat … I’m not going to run against Democrats in a primary,” he told KTAR News. “My ambition is to serve my country, to serve my state and to get people who don’t respect basic values like Donald Trump out of office.”

With Woods opting not to run, there are still zero candidates who have confirmed they will.

Grant Woods
Grant Woods

Whomever does win in 2020 will hold the seat until 2022 when the term ends. John McCain held the seat from his re-election in 2016 until his death in August 2018. Gov. Doug Ducey then appointed Sen. Jon Kyl, who served only from September to December. Ducey turned to Republican U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, who took her oath in January after losing to Democratic U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for the seat Republican Jeff Flake vacated. There will be another election in 2022 for the full 6-year term.

Woods told Arizona Capitol Times his decision crystallized over the last month for him that for a year and a half he would be running against Democrats and not McSally or Trump. “That’s not why I was interested in this,” he said. He repeatedly said Democrats are not the problem right now, but the way things are currently going they may be.

He was interested in running at first because “the country is in crisis because of President Trump and because people like Martha McSally have continued to enable him rather than fighting him.

Woods said he has not talked to any potential senate candidates yet, but did not say who if any of the candidates he would support against McSally, just that McSally needs to go.

“We beat her once, it’s a joke that she’s there so we need to beat her again,” he said.

He still thinks he could beat McSally one-on-one, but is not a fan of how late the primary is. The primary election is his biggest reason to not seek the seat.

“If it was a March primary, maybe things would be different,” he said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego has floated the idea of running, and Mark Kelly, U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton and Hiral Tipirneni’s names have been thrown out as possible candidates as well. With Kelli Ward as new AZGOP chair, there’s also no telling if the party will support McSally’s re-election bid. Ward lost a tough battle in the August primaries to McSally, and also lost the 2016 primary to McCain.

Woods, a close friend of McCain’s delivered a eulogy at his funeral in August.

Woods said he does hope more Democrats enter the race that aren’t as liberal as Kelly and Gallego.

Woods was the Arizona Attorney General from 1991 to 1999 and before that he worked as chief of staff for McCain.

He said has has only run for one office, and running for senate is not his ambition.

He doesn’t really have any other political ambitions, but dodged a question about potentially seeking the governor’s seat in 2022.

“I’m just hoping to make it to ‘22,” he said. “It’s not my driving force in life that I need to be in office.”