Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) officially put an end to speculation that he may run against Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in 2022 Thursday in a letter to donors.
Ducey’s office confirmed to TPM that he will not run for the upper chamber. The letter was first reported by the Arizona Republic.
“If you’re going to run for public office, you have to really want the job,” Ducey wrote. “Right now I have the job I want, and my intention is to close my years of service to Arizona with a very productive final legislative session AND to help elect Republican governors across the country in my role as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.”
It’s the third high-profile blow to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has struggled to recruit quality candidates even in advance of a promising cycle for Republicans.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) opted not to take on the very vulnerable Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), candid about his disdain for the partisan gridlock and contentment of Republican senators to pass little legislation. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) appended his no thanks with a swipe at “the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington.”
Despite winning his seat in 2020, Kelly is up again in 2022 after serving out the end of the late Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) term. Kelly’s 2020 victory against Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ), who was appointed by Ducey, marked the first time Democrats held both of the state’s seats in nearly 70 years.
Kelly has largely stuck to the party line during his brief time in the Senate, making far fewer waves than his fellow Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). He’s also provided a sharp contrast to her, juicing Democratic criticisms that she’s creating more difficulties for the party than her purple seat demands. Sinema has helped sink major items on President Joe Biden’s agenda, including the Build Back Better reconciliation bill and raising the federal minimum wage.