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Former AG Grant Woods: Mark Kelly's Re-Election May Depend On Who He's Running Against

Published: Friday, December 11, 2020 - 12:20pm
Updated: Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 7:24pm

Democrat Mark Kelly’s re-election may depend in part on which Republican he’ll run against in 2022, according to the late U.S. Sen. John McCain’s former chief of staff.

Grant Woods, a McCain ally and former Arizona attorney general, told attendees of a Valley Partnership breakfast on Friday that Republicans have favorable circumstances for election in 2022, when Kelly will run for a full six-year term. Kelly won a special election in November that determine who would serve the remaining two years of McCain's last term in office.

It’s an off-election year, meaning there’s no presidential race on the ballot to help drive out Democratic voters in Arizona, Woods noted.

“But,” Woods said, “And it’s a big but: who are the Republicans gonna nominate?”

Woods said loyalists of President Donald Trump, such as state Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward and Congressmen Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, would be poor candidates for statewide office.

“If [Republicans] nominate a Gosar or a Biggs or a Kelli Ward for governor or for senator, then I think they lose, assuming there’s someone decent on the Democratic side,” Woods said.

Woods cited Attorney General Mark Brnovich as an example of a Republican who'd fare better in a statewide election.

In the past two elections, Democrats have won both of Arizona’s Senate seats and two other statewide offices.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the year of the next election.

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