AZ-Sen

Too Early to Predict Replacements for Corker and Flake

James Hohmann: “The conventional wisdom is that Corker and Flake will both be replaced by intellectually pliable apparatchiks who will reliably support Trump. This is more likely than not.”

“But the changeover won’t happen for 14 months. Flake and Corker will be in office until January 2019. That’s an eternity in politics. It’s more than enough time to derail some of the more unconservative elements of the Trump agenda. Remember, Republicans only have a two-seat majority in the Senate.”

“Moreover, in this environment, it’s totally plausible that Democrats could pick up the open seats in both Arizona and Tennessee. If you add Nevada, and assume that Democratic incumbents up for reelection in states Trump carried find a way to survive (a big if), the GOP would lose the majority. If Republicans lose the Senate in 2018 — which was inconceivable just a few months ago — they will probably also lose the House. If Trump feels put upon now, he has no clue how miserable the second half of his term would be.”

Flake Was a Goner

Jonathan Swan: “Flake was dead. Everybody knew it, including Republican leadership and the NRSC. The public polls showed he was going to lose badly to Kelli Ward and I’m told the internal polling wasn’t much better.”

“The GOP has a commitment to defend incumbents but money is finite, and they’re not about to pour endless amounts of cash into a losing race. Some senior officials, including several people who considered themselves close to Flake, were blindsided by his anti-Trump book.”

Arizona Senate Race Still a ‘Toss Up’

With Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) announcing he will not run for re-election, the Cook Political Report keeps the Arizona Senate race as a “toss up.”

“Right now, there are more questions than answers. The most important is whether an open seat will attract a first-tier candidate who is acceptable to both establishment and Trump Republicans. Other candidates will undoubtedly get into the race now, but Republicans need one who brings some gravitas and fundraising ability to the contest. Today, the identity of that candidate (or candidates) is not obvious.”

Flake Will Not Run for Re-Election

“Condemning the nastiness of Republican politics in the era of President Trump, Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Tuesday announced he will serve out the remainder of his term but will not seek re-election in 2018,” the Arizona Republic reports.

“The bombshell… 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.”

The Perils of Crossing Trump

New York Times: “Mr. Flake is perhaps the most endangered Senate Republican, with an approval rating in one recent poll of just 18 percent among Arizonans. Mr. Trump has savaged Mr. Flake as ‘toxic’ and a ‘flake,’ and has encouraged a primary challenge against him that has left the senator squeezed not only from the left but also the right. His fate is an object lesson for other Republicans who might consider voicing dire thoughts about the president’s fitness: Cross Mr. Trump, and your political career could well be over.”

Trump Met with Potential Flake Challengers

President Trump continues to amp up the pressure on Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), “savaging the Arizona Republican on Twitter and holding a private meeting with several of his prospective primary opponents,” Politico reports.

“Before taking the stage in Phoenix on Tuesday evening for a campaign-style rally, the president huddled backstage with state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and former state GOP Chairman Robert Graham. Both are considering running against Flake, an outspoken critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump book, Conscience of a Conservative.”