Ariz. rep lobbied for Senate seat day after McCain was hospitalized: report

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) lobbied for Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) congressional seat one day after the senator was hospitalized for brain cancer, according to texts obtained by the Arizona Republic

Gosar’s chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, texted Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s then-attorney expressing Gosar’s interest in the position on Dec. 14, shortly after McCain was hospitalized in Bethesda, Md., for the effects of cancer treatment. 

“Just calling to let u know Gosar is interested in the McCain seat and he wants to talk with your boss,” Flein texted Ducey’s former attorney Mike Liburdi. 

If McCain died or resigned due to illness, Ducey would be tasked with appointing his GOP successor, according to the law.


McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in July 2017. He has been in his home state of Arizona for months undergoing treatment. 

Van Flein on Wednesday said that it was not unusual for Gosar to ask to talk to the governor, adding that “responsible people needed to make plans for transitions” at the time, according to the Republic.

The proposed meeting did not happen, according to Van Flein and Liburdi. 

Ducey held a meeting with McCain and his wife in May, fanning speculation over the senator’s potential replacement. However, Ducey denounced those using the meeting as fodder for the guessing game over McCain’s replacement.

“To anyone who uses this as an opportunity to speculate or fan the rumor mill: Washington D.C.’s obsession with this when there is no issue to be discussed is disgraceful,” Ducey said at the time.

“John McCain is our senator until 2022, and the governor is looking forward to him returning to the U.S. Senate,” he added.

Tags Arizona House John McCain Paul Gosar Senate

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