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Jeff Flake wants Republican Party to spend on Senate races, not Donald Trump

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he would rather see the Republican Party spend its campaign war chest on preserving a majority in the Senate rather than presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Appearing on Arizona PBS’ “Arizona Horizon” program late last week, Flake said he would rather see spending on Senate races to prepare for a possible victory by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

“I can tell you, it’s going to be tough to see, if we see Hillary Clinton in office appointing Supreme Court nominees,” he said. “It’s gonna be even tougher if she does so and they are confirmed by a Democratic Senate.”

Flake said he hopes his party realizes how close some Senate races are when it considers where to put its money.

“Right now, if the election were today, it would be very dicey,” he said.

Flake compared Trump’s run to that made by Bob Dole in 1996. Then the Republican presidential nominee, Dole had the full support of the party but was dropping in the polls. The party switched its spending tactics to focus on the Senate rather than supporting Dole.

While Dole lost, the party maintained control of the Senate.

Like Dole, Trump has been slipping in the polls. Polling website FiveThirtyEight has Clinton winning handily in the November election.

Flake, a longtime critic of Trump, has not joined the Never Trump movement, but has said the nominee’s rhetoric could lead Arizona to vote Democrat.

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