A day after a December 2017 announcement that Sen. John McCain had been hospitalized for the "normal effects" of cancer treatment, Arizona's Rep. Paul Gosar was lobbying for McCain's Senate seat.
Gosar's chief of staff, Thomas Van Flein, conveyed the northern Arizona congressman's interest in replacing McCain, R-Ariz., to Gov. Doug Ducey's then-attorney, Mike Liburdi.
If McCain's seat were to open, because of his resignation or death, the sitting governor would appoint his Republican successor.
The brief text exchange began at 11:56 a.m. Dec. 14, less than 24 hours after news reports of McCain's hospitalization in Bethesda, Maryland.
"In a meeting, I'll call you back," Liburdi wrote to Gosar's chief of staff.
Photos: John McCain through the years
It is unclear whether he was responding to a phone call, text message or some other form of communication.
Gosar's chief of staff responded, "Ok! Just calling to let u know Gosar is interested in the McCain seat and he wants to talk with your boss."
The requested conversation did not occur, said Daniel Ruiz, a senior adviser to Ducey.
McCain's hospitalization at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center came amid speculation about his future, following his July 2017 diagnosis with a typically deadly form of brain cancer, known as glioblastoma.
Ducey, a Republican, has rebuked the behind-the-scenes jockeying for the seat. He and his staff, who have fielded questions for months about the issue, have said any discussion is "disgraceful" since McCain remains a member of the U.S. Senate.
Van Flein said Wednesday that he wanted to set up a meeting "so Congressman Gosar could chat with the governor" given the aggressiveness of McCain's diagnosis, "and that responsible people needed to make plans for transitions."
He, too, said that meeting did not happen.
Van Flein could not say whether Gosar is still interested in an appointment to the Senate seat.
The Arizona Republic obtained a transcript of the texts from the Governor's Office in response to a June 12 request under the Arizona Public Records Law.
The Governor's Office released the information Wednesday, after asking information technology officials and current and former gubernatorial staff to search systems and personal cellphones for the government-related communications.