Arizona Governor Ducey officially closes the door on Senate run

(AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Doug Ducey wants to remain the Governor of Arizona, he doesn’t want to run for the U.S. Senate. Ducey has been heavily recruited by Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to run against Democrat Mark Kelly who is up for re-election. Real Clear Politics has the Arizona race in the toss-up column. Flipping Arizona back from a blue state is at the top of the wish list for Republicans eager to take back control of the Senate. It is being reported today that Ducey has notified McConnell and emailed supporters of his decision to take a pass on running for the Senate seat.

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There are plenty of Republicans running in the primary race. Among the candidates are Mark Brnovich, Blake Masters, Jim Lamon, Michael McGuire. The latest poll results are old but the polling from 1/11 – 1/13 shows Brnovich up over the other Republicans by 14%. However, an even earlier poll shows Kelly beating all of the Republican candidates by 4% to 9%. When matched against a generic Republican candidate, Kelly leads the race.

The Arizona Public Opinion Pulse survey, conducted by OH Predictive Insights, found that 42 percent of registered voters would support Kelly if the Senate election were held on the day they answered the poll, while 38 percent said they would support an unnamed Republican candidate. Nineteen percent of those polled said they remain unsure.

Kelly is running for his first full term in the Senate. He won a special election in 2020 against Martha McSally, who was appointed by Ducey to fill the seat when John McCain died in 2018.

Republicans want the seat back and to take control of the Senate in the November mid-term elections. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has the most support of GOP primary voters so far but many voters are still undecided

At least six Republicans are running for the GOP nomination to take on Kelly in the general election. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich appears to have an early lead, but almost half of registered voters say they are still unsure of who they would support in the primary.

The Arizona Public Opinion Pulse poll found that 25 percent of registered voters would likely vote for Brnovich if the GOP primary were held the day they took the poll. Retired Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire, the former head of Arizona’s National Guard, followed with 11 percent. The rest of the candidates polled in single digits.

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Ducey is term-limited from running for re-election as governor. He would have shaken up the race. He received 35% in the above referenced poll, with Brnovich following in second place at 13%. He’s a no-go on running. He wants to concentrate on electing Republican governors, which is also an important assignment.

“These days, if you’re going to run for public office, you have to really want the job,” Ducey said in an email to donors explaining his decision. “Right now I have the job I want, and my intention is to close my years of service to Arizona with a very productive final legislative session AND to help elect Republican governors across the country in my role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”

In his note, which was obtained by CBS News, Ducey acknowledged that although he had already said over a year ago in January 2021 that he didn’t want to run for the Senate, “a number of people have asked me to reconsider.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was reportedly among those encouraging Ducey to think about entering the race.

“The only downside about any of this is that it would be an honor to serve with Sen. Mitch McConnell,” Ducey told donors. “I consider him an historic figure and one of the Titans of the Senate, and I am supportive of everything he’s doing to elect Republican senators and wrest back control from Chuck Schumer.”

Republican governors lead the way on solid economic policies that have put the country back to work as the pandemic wanes. It is essential for Republicans to control state houses and governors’ offices. This is apparent as re-districting maps are moving forward after the last census findings. Republican governors, for the most part, led the way in banishing COVID-19 mandates and allowing businesses to operate without draconian restrictions.

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Democrats are celebrating that McConnell has been unable to convince three governors now to run for the Senate. Besides Ducey, Governor Hogan in Maryland and Governor Sununu in New Hampshire decided against Senate runs. Democrats admit that all three would be strong candidates against Democrats.

“Once again, Senate Republicans’ recruitment efforts have failed, and their top potential candidates are refusing to run against strong Democratic Senators like Mark Kelly,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Patrick Burgwinkle said in a statement.

Ducey will help whomever the GOP nominee turns out to be.

“We have great candidates running in Arizona, one of whom will beat Mark Kelly in November,” National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Chris Hartline said in a statement to CBS News.

As he continues his job to help elect GOP governors, Ducey said he remains committed to flipping Arizona’s Senate seat as well.

“We have a strong field of candidates in Arizona and I will be actively supporting our nominee – and perhaps weighing in before the primary,” Ducey said.

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Ducey’s relationship with Trump went south when Ducey refused to support Trump’s claims about fraud in the 2020 election.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | June 21, 2024
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