Jeff Flake, a Republican senator from Arizona just announced that he won’t be seeing re-election in 2018. He’ll be retiring after his current term expires.
When he announced his retirement, he seemed to criticize President Trump and how he’s shaped American politics. The decision might also come because Flake, who has been one of the Senate's more prominent critics of President Donald Trump, has been struggling in the polls.
He told The Arizona Republic that he believes “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party," reported Arizona Central.
Flake added that he hasn’t "soured on the Senate.” He still loves the institution, but he feels “that as a traditional, libertarian-leaning conservative Republican he is out of step with today's Trump-dominated GOP,” said the Central.
"This spell will pass, but not by next year," added Flake.
Flaked continued, “Here's the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I'm not willing to take, and that I can't in good conscience take.”
He said in a telephone interview, "It would require me to believe in positions I don't hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone."
As of September 30th, Flake's campaign had $3.4 million on hand. As recently as Thursday, he was still fundraising. Despite that, he’s ruled out running as an independent, and he won’t be making a presidential run.
Flake’s retirement opens up the senate race. Arizona Central explains that Kelli Ward has emerged this year as the top GOP alternative to Flake. However, other names have been mentioned including Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham, and Arizona Board of Regents member Jay Heiler.
The Central adds that Flake's exit will most likely encourage bigger names in Arizona Republican politics to take a look at running.
Flake was set to publicly announce his intentions to retire on the Senate floor. He shared his prepared remarks. He gave a “blistering critique” of the "coarseness of our national dialogue" that in his opinion has defined the Trump Era and become the new normal.
"We must never regard as 'normal' the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals," Flake says in his remarks as prepared for delivery. "We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.”
"None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal," added Flake.
Flake is breaking Arizona tradition by retiring after a single term. Arizona has a tradition of long-serving U.S. senators, including Democrat Carl Hayden and Republicans Barry Goldwater and McCain.
“Only one other senator from Arizona served just a single six-year term: Republican Ralph Cameron, who was elected in 1920 and ousted by Hayden in the 1926 election,” explained Arizona Central.
In other news, Kirk Cameron is taking to the big screen to address the nation's "deepest plague."