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McCain confidant Grant Woods considers US Senate run as Democrat

PHOENIX – Grant Woods, former chief of staff for late Republican Sen. John McCain, told the Washington Post he was considering a U.S. Senate run as a Democrat.

In a story published Wednesday, Woods told the paper he’d discussed the idea with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and other Democratic senators.

The 64-year-old former Arizona attorney general was thought to be a potential replacement for McCain, who died Aug. 25 from brain cancer.

On Tuesday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the appointment of former Sen. Jon Kyl to fill McCain’s seat. By state law, Ducey’s pick had to be from McCain’s party.

Kyl committed to serving only through the current session, which ends in January. If he steps down, the governor will name another GOP replacement, who will hold the seat until the 2020 general election. At that time, Arizona voters will pick the person who will serve out McCain’s term, which runs through 2022.

The 2020 election would be Woods’ first opportunity to run for Senate in Arizona.

Before then, Democrats are hoping to pick up an Arizona Senate seat in November’s election. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, both U.S. representatives, are squaring off to replace Jeff Flake, who didn’t seek re-election.

Like McCain, Woods has been soured by the politics of President Donald Trump. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Woods endorsed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Woods, who spoke during the memorial service for McCain in Phoenix last week, said his longtime friend’s death led him to consider “whether I need to step up at this point in time.”

“What’s changed for me is the passing of John McCain,” he told the Post. “It’s challenging for me be so involved in everything that we did to honor him over the last week and then think of staying on the sidelines as we face a world without John McCain.”

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Woods was talking to Democrats about a Senate run, citing “party officials familiar with the discussions.”

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