Former Arizona AG cites Republican Biden supporters as key in state win

Dec 7, 2020, 1:21 PM | Updated: 1:22 pm

PHOENIX – Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods said having Republicans like Cindy McCain and former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake vouching for President-elect Joe Biden were key in flipping the state in the presidential election.

Woods said on The Think Tank with Mike O’Neil on Saturday that part of Arizona’s strategy to get Biden into office was to lean on a large group of current and former Republicans who campaigned against Trump and advocated for his Democratic challenger.

“We brought in people who said not only do we not support Trump, but we do support Joe Biden and he’s the right guy here and you can trust Joe Biden,” Woods said.

Cindy McCain, the widow of late Sen. John McCain, said she wasn’t backing away from the Republican Party, but she believed Biden was the best person for the position.

“She came in and did whatever was asked and campaigned hard, and all of that gave a safe space to this more moderate group of independents and Republicans who were looking for a safe space,” Woods said.

When John McCain and Biden served in the Senate together, they often had varying stances but knew how to come together to get work done for the American people, something that was repeatedly acknowledged while campaigning and in a video at the Democratic National Convention.

Flake has been a vocal critic of Trump’s in recent years and announced in August he was formally endorsing Biden. The former senator said he had never voted for a Democrat running for president before but Biden was a “good and decent man.”

Flake did not seek reelection in 2018, saying he was out of step with the Republican Party in the era of Trump.

“He knew that it would be very difficult for him if he spoke out against Trump on principle and on character issues and yet he did it,” Woods said.

The trend of Republicans voting for Democrats was not seen down the ballot in Arizona. For example, in Maricopa County, incumbent Democrat recorder Adrian Fontes lost to Republican challenger Stephen Richer.

The GOP also retained control of both houses of the Arizona Legislature.

Woods said Republicans who crossed party lines primarily only did so for the presidential race.

“I think consequently you had a lot of people who when they went in there to vote, or when they did it at their kitchen table, they said, ‘Yeah, I’m tired of this total chaos and let’s get through four years and then we’ll see where both parties are then,’” Woods said.

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Former Arizona AG cites Republican Biden supporters as key in state win