A dichotomy exists in the nation’s 48th state, where conservative sensibilities dominate the social landscape but are juxtaposed by its two Democrat U.S. senators. Add in the looming shadow of John McCain, the late Republican senator, and it’s an intriguing mix.
Trying to win a Senate race subject to these elements — including a possible lengthy candidate roster — could be challenging. But that’s what a Republican candidate and former adjutant general of the Arizona National Guard is preparing to do in the 2022 midterm election: Declare victory on Nov. 8 and tip the scale of the Senate.
“I predict that all eyes will be on Arizona, and the road to 51 (Republican votes) leads through Arizona,” retired Maj. Gen. Michael “Mick” McGuire told Reserve & National Guard Magazine in a phone interview.
And he could be the right person for the job.
McGuire put in his bid for the Senate seat several weeks ago. He retired a few months back but has been on the campaign trail since early June.
“My wife’s probably seen me less in the last 12 weeks … than any other time other than when I’ve been deployed in my career,” he said.
A native Arizonan, McGuire is a 1987 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and served on several combat and training assignments as a pilot. In 2001, he joined the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing as an instructor and in 2010 led the 214th Reconnaissance Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, supporting overseas combat operations. In 2013, he began an eight-year stint as the senior military officer in Arizona, reporting directly to the governor.
McGuire is married (wife, Debbie) and has three daughters — the youngest is a junior at Baylor University — and one granddaughter.
His National Guard experience seemingly sets him apart from other candidates. McGuire said leadership is what he would bring to the role of U.S. senator.
“I’m a proven leader,’ he said. “And I think every organization needs leadership. As a proven leader: the largest mobilization of National Guardsmen in the state of Arizona since 1942 for the 12 months preceding my retirement.”
More than 85% of the Arizona Guardsmen were on duty at one point during that stretch, he said, adding that making tough decisions in stressful situations and remaining firm in his convictions will also serve him well if elected to the Senate.
Commanding a joint force was the most humbling experience of his professional career.
“I took the attitude that I was no more or less important than any other member of the 8,300-man and woman team,” he said. “I just had a different set of duties, authorities and responsibilities. And I’ll take that with me into the next opportunity.”
He said the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the 2020 protests at Lafayette Square in the District of Columbia were instrumental in his decision to run for office.
“I felt like it was my civic duty to jump into this thing,” he said. “I’ve never seen a more divided nation. I’ve never seen or felt the threat of the republic pulled tighter. And I feel like getting to 51 votes and a Republican majority in the Senate is one way … is probably the quickest way I know of to try to ratchet down some of this tension.”
Border security, defunding law enforcement (which he is opposed to), the protection of Second Amendment rights and the inclusion of academic extremism — critical race theory — in the education system (also opposed to) are other issues he sees as seriously impacting the nation.
The retired general enjoys fly-fishing and golf, but those pastimes will have to take a raincheck as the campaign begins to command McGuire’s time. And if election success doesn’t find him on Nov. 8, 2022, he knows he will be able to converge on the fish and links with peace of mind.
“I will not live a life less-fulfilled if I’m not a United States senator, but I will feel derelict in my duty if I don’t give it my best effort to stop this republic from coming apart at the seams. I mean that.”Read comments