Michael McGuire enters Arizona's GOP US Senate primary race; hopes to challenge Sen. Mark Kelly
Michael “Mick” McGuire, the retired adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard who was a familiar presence in televised briefings during the pandemic, formally began a U.S. Senate campaign Tuesday, hoping to challenge Sen. Mark Kelly.
After serving nearly 34 years in uniform, McGuire, 56, of Phoenix, retired in April from managing the day-to-day operations of the state’s Army and Air National Guard and head of the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, where he helped lead the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A fourth-generation Arizonan and retired Air Force fighter pilot, McGuire becomes the second Republican to jump into the 2022 race.
“As a fourth generation Arizonan, a constitutional conservative, and someone who took an oath to protect and defend our nation I am ready to serve again,” McGuire said in a written statement to The Arizona Republic.
Entering the race, he said in the statement, “is not about another title for me, it’s about fighting for you, fighting to protect our values, and standing up for what’s right.”
McGuire has been privately meeting with potential supporters and national Republicans in recent weeks as he sized up the race.
He will begin traveling the state to meet with voters from all 15 counties, where he will present himself as a constitutional conservative experienced in marshaling troops from the northern corners of the state to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Then-Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, appointed McGuire adjutant general in 2013. In that role, he supervised training for an estimated 8,300 National Guard personnel and was charged with certifying the readiness of deployments of soldiers and airmen.
During the pandemic, he coordinated the largest mobilization of the Guard since World War II, overseeing missions that had guardsmen helping with vaccine distribution, stocking grocery shelves and distributing medical supplies to tribal and rural communities.
“The last year has been the most humbling and gratifying year of my service to watch the nearly 8,300 soldiers, airmen, and civilians of DEMA prove we are always ready, always there,” McGuire said in a statement announcing his retirement earlier this year.
His long-expected entry to the race adds a measure of competition to the GOP field in a closely watched contest that could help decide the Senate’s majority. At least two more high-profile candidates are expected to step into the race.
McGuire joins solar-business executive Jim Lamon, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump whose company has invested heavily in the state Republican Party and its efforts to register GOP voters ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
Lamon is already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on television and campaign mailers to introduce himself to voters.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told The Republic in a recent interview he expects a crowded field for the GOP primary.
Trump has not expressed a preference toward any particular candidate, Scott said.
“We’ll have someone great come out of the primary," he added.
The winner of the Republican primary election will face Kelly, D-Ariz., one of the top Democratic funders in the 2020 election cycle. He raised $4.4 million last quarter in preparation for what is expected to be a costly, competitive general election.
The 2022 race is for a full, six-year term. Kelly won his 2020 Senate race against former Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. to fill the remainder of the term initially won by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who died in office in 2018.
Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.