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Retired Gen. McGuire jumps into Arizona Senate race

FILE - In this May 20, 2020, file photo, then-Arizona National Guard Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, director of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, answers a question at a news conference in Phoenix. McGuire, the former head of the Arizona National Guard, has filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate, joining what's likely to be a crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

 In this May 20, 2020, file photo, then-Arizona National Guard Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, director of the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, answers a question at a news conference in Phoenix. McGuire, the former head of the Arizona National Guard, has filed papers to run for the U.S. Senate, joining what’s likely to be a crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, File)

Retired Maj. Gen. Michael “Mick” McGuire, who led the Arizona National Guard through the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, formally began his campaign for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, becoming the second major Republican looking to unseat Democrat Mark Kelly.  

McGuire introduced himself with an online video highlighting his military career and presenting himself as a political outsider tired of “weak leaders” and “politicians who sit on the sidelines.”  

In his video, McGuire describes himself as a “constitutional conservative” and calls for securing the border. He says he opposes abortion, will protect 1st and 2nd Amendment rights and “will walk shoulder to shoulder with law enforcement.”  

McGuire, who retired earlier this year from the military and from his post as head of Arizona’s emergency management agency, was a visible presence and a booming voice beside Gov. Doug Ducey during televised briefings about the pandemic. The guard helped deliver goods and stock shelves at food banks and grocery stores as supply chains froze up and panicked shoppers snapped up food and paper products last year.  

The Guard also built temporary medical facilities and flew supplies to the remote and underserved Navajo Nation as the outbreak hit the reservation hard. Guardsmen also responded to racial justice protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  

About 85% of the Guard has been called up in the last year, more than have ever responded to domestic needs, McGuire said in April at a news conference where Ducey introduced his successor at the National Guard.  

McGuire also oversaw the deployment of Guardsmen to the southern border.  

McGuire, an Air Force Academy graduate, flew F-16 fighters before joining the Arizona National Guard in 2001, where he continued as an F-16 instructor pilot and flew MQ-1B Predator drones. Gov. Jan Brewer appointed him adjutant general, the Guard’s top leader, and head of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs in 2013. Ducey kept him in the job when he took office in 2015.  

Solar energy entrepreneur Jim Lamon was the first major Republican candidate to jump in the race. Other Republicans considering a Senate run include U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. 

Kelly, a retired astronaut, won a special election last year to finish the late John McCain’s last Senate term. He is now running for a full six-year term. The race is one of the most high-profile contests in 2022 and will help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. 

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