It’s Joe Arpaio’s Party Now

McKay Coppins: “Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio has the kind of résumé that in some other, hard-to-remember era would have consigned him to the fringes of American politics.”

“Now, he wants to be the a United States senator—and he believes the political climate has never been better for a candidate like him.”

“In a phone interview Wednesday, Arpaio told me the national GOP had moved sharply in his direction in recent years. All that gauzy post-2012 talk of Republicans reaching out to Latino voters and championing ‘compassionate’ immigration reform seems like a distant memory now—replaced by a climate in which the godfather of the birther movement can become president by promising to keep Mexican rapists out of the country with a massive border wall.”

Arpaio Will Run for Senate In Arizona

Joe Arpaio (R), “a close ally of President Trump and former sheriff known for his provocative approach to combating illegal immigration, is running for Senate in Arizona,” the Washington Examiner reports.

“The 85-year-old Arpaio could shake up the late August Republican primary in a critical open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).”

McSally Will Run for Senate in Arizona

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) told her fellow Arizona Republican House colleagues that she plans to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Roll Call reports.

Arizona Republic: “But McSally can expect opposition from some on the right, including a political-action committee aligned with the conservative Club for Growth, which warned recently that it would oppose her candidacy.”

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.”