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'Flip that seat': Marlene Galan Woods, widow of Grant Woods, exploring a run for Congress against Schweikert in '24

She says politics wasn't on her 'bingo card' before her husband's death. Then everything changed.
Credit: Woods family

ARIZONA, USA — Marlene Galan Woods, the widow of former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods and chair of Democrat Adrian Fontes' successful campaign for secretary of state, says she is considering whether to challenge seven-term Republican Congressman David Schweikert in 2024.

"I want to flip that seat," Woods said in an interview. 

"I'm a moderate Democrat. That seems right for the district. I'm interested in voting rights - that's the No. 1 issue - common sense gun laws - and reproductive rights."

Woods said she had been approached to run by Democrats and Republicans after the November elections. She said she switched her party registration from "lifelong Republican" to Democratic when Donald Trump became president.

Since her husband's death, Woods has raised her public profile, with her role on the Fontes campaign last fall and at a protest calling out disinformation.

Woods has given herself 90 days to make a decision on whether to run. 

"I didn't have this on my bingo card two years ago, but life is kind of funny," Woods said. "Changes and heartbreak and all these things that have happened put me in this place."

Grant Woods died of a heart attack two years ago at the age of 67. 

He was a longtime friend and confidant of the late Sen. John McCain. Woods delivered a touching eulogy at McCain's funeral that propelled him into the national spotlight. 

Both Grant and Marlene Woods were close to the McCain family.

Marlene Woods, who is 59, had a 20-year career as a TV news journalist in Phoenix and Los Angeles. She recalled covering the Arizona Capitol when former Gov. Evan Mecham was impeached.

Jevin Hodge, Democrats' 2022 candidate against Schweikert, said via text message that he is "taking a serious look at running ... in 2024."

"I am receiving strong encouragement from the community and leaders across Arizona and in Washington. Whatever decision I make will be in the best interest of Arizona to ensure we hold corrupt David Schweikert accountable."

Last November, Schweikert eked out a re-election victory over Hodge by less than a percentage point. 

Schweikert overcame the stain of a campaign finance scandal that drew a rare reprimand from the House of Representatives and forced him to pay $125,000 for "knowing and willful" reporting violations.

Schweikert's redrawn 1st Congressional District, taking in new swaths of Democratic voters in central Phoenix, had a smaller Republican voter advantage than his former district. Schweikert lives in Fountain Hills, in the northeast corner of the district.

Democratic turnout is expected to be higher in 2024, with the presidential election on the ballot.

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