PHOENIX (AP) – Former Arizona attorney general Grant Woods, a longtime Republican loyalist who changed his registration to Democrat in 2018 due to his frustration with the party leadership and the then president , Donald Trump, died on Saturday.
His unexpected death at age 67 was announced by his wife, Marlene Galan Woods, through a public relations firm. A cause has not been announced.
âGrant was the love of my life. My best friend. My heart is broken, âhis wife said in a statement. “I just can’t believe he’s gone.”
Woods was a long-time member of the state’s Republican politics and was a key aide to the late Senator John McCain while a member of Congress, as the first chief of staff in the 1980s. He delivered a eulogy alongside current President Joe Biden during McCain’s memorial service in Phoenix.
He was Attorney General from 1991 to 1999, helping to lead negotiations on a massive national deal with tobacco companies which continues to help fund the state’s Medicaid program. The state has received more than $ 1 billion since the 1998 settlement agreement.
After leaving the office, he returned to private practice and has been a very successful civil litigator in antitrust, fraud, breach of contract and medical malpractice cases. He has also often been called upon as a special prosecutor in public corruption cases and trial murder cases.
Tributes poured in on Saturday night, starting with Governor Doug Ducey, who said “Arizona honors his life and his years of public service.”
“Our hearts and hearts go out to his wife Marlene and his five children,” Ducey said in a statement.
Woods grew up in the Phoenix metro area and graduated from Phi Beta Kappa from Occidental College in 1976. He received a law degree from Arizona State University in 1979.
Woods left the Republican Party shortly after McCain’s death in 2018, furious and dismayed at Trump’s treatment of his longtime friend and the party leadership. He considered running for the US Senate in 2020 in an attempt to overthrow the then senator. Martha McSally and helps be a foil for Trump, but decided his status as a former Republican would have been a handicap in the crowded primary field. McSally ultimately lost to now-Sen. Marc Kelly.
“Grant Woods was an Arizona original who fought every day to improve our state,” said state representative Reginald Bolding, the leader of the Democratic minority. âHe dedicated his life to public service and has been a constant voice of reason when we needed him most. “
In addition to his legal and political work, Woods was a longtime charity fundraiser. He founded the Mesa Boys and Girls Club, the Mesa Education Foundation and the Mesa Arts Academy. He was also an aspiring playwright.
Besides his wife, he is survived by five children. Services are on hold.
âI am so proud of the man he was, a public servant, an advocate for the everyday person, a lover of music, stories and sports,â said his wife, a former TV presenter. âHe made me a better person. I can’t even imagine our lives without him. But we are strong and a close family and we will work hard to honor his life. ”