PHOENIX — Candidates in Arizona’s close U.S. Senate race put the finishing
touches on their campaigns Monday as GOP congressman Jeff Flake crisscrossed the
state and as former surgeon general Richard Carmona ramped up get-out-the-vote
efforts in his attempt to become the state’s first Hispanic U.S. senator.
Democrats, meanwhile, complained that automated calls made this past weekend by
the Flake campaign gave some Democratic voters erroneous information on the
location of their polling places. The Flake campaign attributed the incorrect
locations to outdated information in a database.
Flake was a heavy favorite earlier in the campaign. But the contest to fill
retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl’s post has become more competitive in recent
weeks, due in part to outside groups spending about $15 million on the race
during October. Flake and Carmona agree that the race is close.
Flake, who campaigned Monday in Tucson, Kingman and Snowflake, was planning a
rally Monday night with Sen. John McCain at Prescott’s courthouse square, where
Barry Goldwater launched his Senate campaigns and his failed 1964 presidential
Carmona focused on voter outreach efforts from his downtown Phoenix campaign
office and was scheduled to attend a late-afternoon rally in Mesa held by a
group that supports providing a path to legal status for many young illegal
immigrants. He planned to finish the day by working his campaign’s phone bank.
The Arizona Democratic Party said it has complained to federal authorities
about the Flake campaign’s weekend robocalls, which were first reported by
Flake officials didn’t return several calls seeking comment Monday. But the
campaign said in a statement that it made more than 120,000 robocalls to
Republicans on Saturday to encourage them to vote and to tell them where their
polling place is located.
The campaign also attributed the calls to outdated information in a database,
such as listings for Democrats who have the same number as a Republican, or
erroneous information on voters who had moved but hadn’t updated their voter
Carmona said he didn’t know whether the robocalls were intended to deceive
voters or whether they were due to carelessness. Still, he questioned why a GOP
candidate would be calling Democratic voters so late in the game.
“That just doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.
Bill Solomon, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said a complaint
about the automated calls was made to federal prosecutors and forwarded to
another agency, which the spokesman declined to name. Solomon said no decision
has been made on whether the complaint will be investigated.
The race marks the most formidable fight that Democrats in Arizona have mounted
in more than a decade in trying to win a U.S. Senate seat. Carmona said the
contest is more spirited and competitive because voters are frustrated with the
hyper-partisanship of some Republican officials over issues such as immigration.
Carmona said he has support from Republicans who are fed up with extremism in
their own party.
“They (people) just want reasonable people to solve their problems,” he said.