Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is thinking about running as a Democrat for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
“I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s the right thing for me,” he said. “I enjoy public service. I enjoyed being surgeon general of the United States. I’ve worked in government at local, state and national levels. But I’m not sure if an elected position is the right thing for me. I’ve agreed to at least consider it.”
Carmona served as surgeon general under President George W. Bush but was publicly critical of the president, accusing him of trying to water down scientific reports on the effects of secondhand smoke and climate change for political reasons.
He could be a strong candidate for the seat in the Republican-leaning state. Some Democrats in the state indicate there may be other strong recruits in the offing. There is also an outside chance that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) may recover fast enough from her January assassination attempt to run for the seat. Other Democrats interested in the race may be holding off on announcing their intentions until Giffords makes a decision.
Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is the front-runner on the GOP side, although wealthy businessman Wil Cardon’s self-financed candidacy could give Flake headaches. The state gave favorite son Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) 53 percent of the vote in his 2008 run for president.