PHOENIX, Ariz. — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has notified Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell that he will not enter his state’s high-profile Senate contest, a disappointing development for establishment Republicans who saw Ducey as their best hope to defeat Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly this fall.
Ducey’s decision was confirmed by a person with direct knowledge of the conversation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private talk.
Ducey also notified donors of his decision in a letter, as first reported by The Arizona Republic.
“Right now I have the job I want,” Ducey wrote, adding that he is “fully committed to helping elect a Republican US Senator from Arizona.”
Ducey’s decision marks another significant recruiting failure for McConnell, R-Ky., and his allies, who also could not persuade popular Republican governors to enter Senate contests in New Hampshire and Maryland.
While Ducey’s move is a big disappointment for McConnell, it comes as good news for former President Donald Trump, a fierce critic of the governor. Trump has lashed out at Ducey repeatedly for refusing to support Trump’s lies about fraud in the 2020 election.
Ducey did not mention Trump in his letter to donors.
Arizona Republicans now look to an early August primary election to pick a nominee from a field of four leading candidates: Attorney General Mark Brnovich; businessman Blake Masters, who has aggressively courted Trump’s endorsement; Mick McGuire, former head of the Arizona National Guard; and businessman Jim Lamon.
With Ducey out of the race, it’s unclear whether Trump will endorse before primary election.
Chris Hartline, a spokesman for the Senate GOP campaign organization, said the Senate contest in Arizona is still competitive.
“We have great candidates running in Arizona, one of whom will beat Mark Kelly in November,” he said.
Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, was elected in 2020 to finish the last two years of the term of the late Republican Sen. John McCain.