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Head of Arizona National Guard retiring; could join GOP race for Senate seat
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Head of Arizona National Guard retiring; could join GOP race for Senate seat

Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire announced that April 10 will be his last day as the state's adjutant general and director of emergency and military affairs

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PHOENIX The state’s top military and emergency management official is leaving, with a possible run for U.S. Senate in his future.

Maj. Gen. Michael McGuire announced Friday that April 10 will be his last day as the state’s adjutant general and director of emergency and military affairs. That ends not only his service with the state but the end of 37 years in the military.

“I have been in uniform since June 1983,” he said in an interview with Capitol Media Services.

Given that he remains an active service member, McGuire said he can’t talk about future plans until he sheds that uniform. And he said that, with his granddaughter just moving to Arizona, that is likely his first priority.

But he is looking beyond.

“I think service is in my blood,” said McGuire, who is a registered Republican. And he said that if he were to go down the path of a future in politics, he would have to make a decision relatively quickly.

That could put him into what could be a crowded GOP race for the right to take on newly elected Democrat Mark Kelly.

Congressman Andy Biggs told Capitol Media Services on Friday that he has been talking with political advisers and reviewing the polls. Biggs said he knows he would have to make a decision relatively soon, given the amount of money — it could be north of $100 million — it would take to oust Kelly.

There are others who could be looking at the chance to try to put the Senate seat back in GOP hands, including two who have shown they can win statewide office: Attorney General Mark Brnovich and Treasurer Kimberly Yee.

Others mentioned include current Congressman David Schweikert; former Congressman Matt Salmon; Taylor Robson, who is a business owner serving on the Board of Regents; and Kirk Adams, a former legislator who served as chief of staff for Gov. Doug Ducey.

That potentially paves the way for a divisive primary among various factions of the Republican Party, a move that could leave the survivor wounded.

But Biggs, who has gained a national reputation as a close ally of former President Donald Trump, said he is “quite confident” if he gets in that he could win the primary. And he said that, given the national attention paid to Arizona, there will be the resources to wage a viable campaign for the general election.

“We have to take that seat back,” Biggs said.

McGuire said his decision to retire now was not based on setting the stage for a future political run.

In fact, he said, he had planned to leave this past June.

“You know what happened in March 2020,” he said, with the governor declaring an emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. “It would have been totally inappropriate for me to leave at that point.”

The emergency declaration remains. But McGuire said the timing is now right.

“To use a football analogy, I think we’re in the middle of the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead,” he said. And McGuire said this gives a chance for whoever Ducey chooses as his successor to get some real-world experience handling an emergency.

McGuire was appointed to the post in 2013 by then-Gov. Jan Brewer.

He replaced Maj. Gen. Hugo Salazar after the Arizona National Guard came under scrutiny during his leadership. A Department of Defense report pointed to cases of alleged sexual harassment, lax leadership and misconduct among guard leaders.

On Twitter: @azcapmedia


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