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Politicians react to Sen. Jeff Flake’s decision to not run for re-election

In this photo taken July 19, 2017, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. walks to his seat as he attends a luncheon with other GOP Senators and President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced on Oct. 24, he won't seek re-election. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

PHOENIX — The political world was abuzz Tuesday after U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) announced he would not run for re-election, citing a divisive political climate.

Flake attributed much of the divide to President Donald Trump during a speech on the Senate floor.

“There are times at which we must risk our careers in favor of our principles,” he said.

There was no immediate reaction from Trump, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the decision during her daily briefing.

Political figures were quick to jump on social media to share their thoughts. Minutes before giving a speech himself, Arizona’s other senator, John McCain, thanked Flake for his service.

McCain’s daughter, Megan, reacted with shock.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey thanked Flake in a statement.

“[Flake] was a voice for fiscal responsibility at the federal level before it was popular, and effectively ended the practice of earmarks,” he said. “I’ve appreciated his friendship, professionalism and intellect on policy issues impacting Arizona. I wish all the best for [Flake], Cheryl and their whole family.”

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer tweeted what was on everyone’s mind following the announcement.

Interesting is an understatement. Flake was expected to face a tough primary against Dr. Kelli Ward, who has received support from heavy-hitters who also worked for Trump.

Ward said Arizona voters would benefit from the senator’s decision.

Had he defeated Ward, Flake likely would have faced Democratic U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who praised the senator in a statement.

“It’s been an honor to know and serve with [Flake],” the statement read. “He is a man of integrity and a statesman who is true to his convictions – an Arizonan through and through. I wish he and Cheryl and their family the very best.”

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) also kind words for the senator.

“In spite of our sometimes stark political differences, I consider Sen. Jeff Flake a truly decent human being and a man who loves God, his country and his fellow human beings,” a statement from the congressman read. “I wish him and his family the very best God can give them during his remaining time in the Senate and going forward in life.”

Mesa Mayor John Giles also voiced his displeasure with the senator’s announcement, saying it will be “sad to see him go.”

National political figures weighed in as well, though the reaction was decidedly more mixed.

Flake will hold his seat until early 2019.

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