Arizona senator Jeff Flake will not be seeking reelection in 2018.
The news broke this afternoon on multiple media channels. From AZCentral: “The bombshell, which Flake, R-Ariz., intended to detail Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor, will further roil Republican hopes of keeping the party’s 52-seat Senate majority in the midterm elections of Trump’s first term, when the president’s party historically loses seats in Congress.”
FLAKE retiring: "there may not be a place for a R like me in the current R climate or the current R Party." https://t.co/iZ8ZUeLFUm
— Gabriel Debenedetti (@gdebenedetti) October 24, 2017
Despite being part of the GOP, Flake has been critical of Donald Trump, going as far as to write an entire book lambasting the president. These attacks were bringing down his approval rating in Arizona, which may have been a factor in Flake deciding to hang it up.
Flake told AZCentral that his primary fight was going to be very hard in an atmosphere dominated by President Trump’s hardline position on immigration:
— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) October 24, 2017
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Early polling showed that Flake’s main opponent, State Senator Kelli Ward, had a huge advantage over the senator. If Flake really wants to avoid a nasty primary battle, this was probably the smartest move he could have taken. There’s no question that the Republican Party has changed under the leadership of President Trump. If Flake disagrees with the president on key issues like trade and immigration, it’s better for him to drop out, or at least run as a Democrat or independent.
In Trump’s GOP, there’s no room for flakes like Flake. That’s a lesson establishment Republicans have not yet learned, though, Flake’s announcement indicates that many are coming around to this hard truth.
Trump supporters celebrated Flake’s bowing out over Twitter:
Breaking News!!! Swamp Draining!!! Jeff Flake will NOT seek reelection in Arizona! #MAGA
— Joseph DePasquale (@JoeStocks) October 24, 2017
two elite republicans down jeff flake and bob corker .will not seek relection …next will be JOHN FAKE MCCAIN
— TheTeeMomain (@whiteness0869) October 24, 2017
RINO AZ Sen. Jeff Flake will not seek re-election due to Trump's nastiness? Ha! The swamp continues to drain.
— STU (@bleachers138) October 24, 2017
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