Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael “Mick” McGuire, the former head of the Arizona National Guard who was a ubiquitous presence at the governor’s weekly briefings about the COVID-19 pandemic last year, has filed paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate next year.
McGuire, a Republican, filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday to run for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mark Kelly, who was elected in a 2020 special election to finish the term of the late John McCain. McGuire has long been rumored to be interested in a Senate run, and his retirement in March fueled speculation that he would vie for the GOP nomination next year.
David Satterfield, the campaign consultant listed on the FEC paperwork, said McGuire has received “an overwhelming number of calls and emails” urging him to consider the Senate race since his retirement. He indicated that McGuire has not made a final decision on whether to join the race.
“General McGuire has been meeting and speaking with everyday Arizonans from all 15 counties to determine whether there is broad-based support for his conservative vision, which is founded upon freedom, respect and trust with fidelity to the United States Constitution,” said Satterfield, of the Alexandria, Virginia-based consulting firm Huckaby Davis & Lisker. “General McGuire looks forward to continue (sic) serving our great nation and all Arizonans in some capacity and will announce his decision at the appropriate time.”
Former Gov. Jan Brewer appointed McGuire as the adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard and director of the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs in 2013. His retirement capped nearly 34 years of military service that began in 1987 when he enrolled in the U.S. Air Force Academy. He planned to retire in 2020 but postponed his retirement due to the COVID pandemic, according to Gov. Doug Ducey’s administration.
Prior to his appointment by Brewer, McGuire commanded the 162nd Fighter Wing for the Arizona Air National Guard in Tucson. He also commanded the 214th Reconnaissance Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, where he flew a MQ-1B Predator drone. He joined the 162nd Fighter Wing in 2001 as an instructor pilot for the F-16, which he’d previously flown in combat and training assignments.
At the April press conference where Ducey announced McGuire’s successor, the governor praised the outgoing adjutant general for serving his state and country honorably. He highlighted McGuire’s leadership during the COVID pandemic, when the Arizona National Guard was tasked with operating testing sites, transporting medical supplies to remote areas of state, packing boxes and distributed food at local food banks, and helping operate mass vaccination sites.
“He stopped into an outsized role early on, and he and his team have been instrumental ever since,” Ducey said of McGuire.
Ducey also thanked McGuire for his help in aiding former President Donald Trump’s border security efforts in 2018. At Ducey’s direction, more than 300 Arizona National Guard troops deployed to the border, where they served in support roles.
McGuire’s potential candidacy adds to what could be a crowded and competitive Republican primary. Jim Lamon, the founder and CEO of the solar energy company DEPCOM Power, became the first major GOP candidate to enter the race when he announced his candidacy earlier this month. Blake Masters, the chief operating officer of Thiel Capital, is expected to enter the race with substantial financial backing from his boss, tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel. And Attorney General Mark Brnovich is considering a run for the Senate, as is Congressman Andy Biggs.
***UPDATED: This story has been updated with comments from David Satterfield and the headline has been changed to reflect them. The original headline was “Former Arizona National Guard head McGuire running for U.S. Senate.”