Donald Trump scoffs at notion of ‘RINO’ Doug Ducey running for Senate

Feb 14, 2022, 3:00 PM
President Donald Trump listens as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Re...

President Donald Trump listens as Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at a campaign rally at Prescott Regional Airport, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHOENIX — Former President Donald Trump has taken note of reports that top Republicans have been trying to coax Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to run for Democrat Mark Kelly’s U.S. Senate seat.

And he’s not impressed.

“MAGA will never accept RINO Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona running for the U.S. Senate—So save your time, money, and energy, Mitch!” Trump said in a tweet-sized statement Monday. (For those unfamiliar with Trump-speak, MAGA is his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, and RINO is an intraparty pejorative that stands for Republican in Name Only.)

Trump has relied on sharing his thoughts of all sizes through press releases since being banned from mainstream social media platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, unrest at the U.S. Capitol.

His Ducey message came a day after The New York Times published a story about how Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was working behind the scenes to loosen Trump’s grip on the GOP.

Kelly’s seat is a key pickup target for Republicans as they try to take control of the Senate. The Times describes McConnell’s efforts to win the chamber with candidates he supports as potentially being “Republicans’ last chance to reverse the spread of Trumpism before it fully consumes their party.”

The Times said former President George W. Bush and GOP strategist Karl Rove are among those helping recruit Ducey to that end.

For his part, Ducey has consistently said he’s not planning to run for anything and is focused only on his final year as governor.

“I’ve answered this question several times. … The answer hasn’t changed. I’m 100% focused on my day job,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News earlier this month.

Recent polling showed that Ducey, who can’t seek reelection because of term limits, would easily supplant state Attorney General Mark Brnovich as the GOP favorite for challenging Kelly in November. Trump hasn’t yet made an endorsement in the race.

If Ducey changes his mind, he’d have to act fairly soon, because candidates have to file the nominating petitions required to get onto Arizona ballots this year by April 4.

Ducey campaigned for Trump in 2020 but got on his wrong side for defending the legitimacy of Arizona’s elections against unfounded fraud allegations after President Joe Biden won the state.

Ducey famously ignored a phone call from Trump that came in while the governor was in the middle of certifying the Arizona’s 2020 results along with other state officials.

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Donald Trump scoffs at notion of ‘RINO’ Doug Ducey running for Senate