ARIZONA NEWS

Sen. Jeff Flake says he will not run for re-election in 2018

Oct 24, 2017, 12:02 PM | Updated: 12:59 pm
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., listens during a Senate Judiciar...
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PHOENIX — In a move that turned next year’s Senate race on its head, incumbent Jeff Flake announced Tuesday that he would not seek re-election.

A spokesman for Flake’s office confirmed reports that he planned to leave politics because of the divisive climate created under President Donald Trump.

“There are times at which we must risk our careers in favor of our principles,” he said while announcing his decision on the Senate floor.

Flake’s term will end in early January 2019.

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

The senator and Trump have been at odds since the campaign, a battle that came to a head after he released a book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” in which he bemoaned his party’s failure to stand up to Trump in last year’s presidential race.

“We pretended that the emperor wasn’t naked,” he wrote.

Trump, in turn, has lashed out at the senator on Twitter, calling him “toxic,” while praising Dr. Kelli Ward, who planned to challenge the senator in next year’s primary.

White House officials said there was little chance Trump would have had a change of heart over supporting Flake.

His seat had become a target for both Democrats and Republicans alike. Democratic U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema declared her candidacy last month.

“People are fooling themselves if they think Jeff Flake is anything but a walking dead member of the United State Senate,” said Andy Surabian, whose Great America Alliance is backing Ward.

Ward unsuccessfully challenged Arizona’s senior senator, John McCain, in last year’s election, losing in the primary by a wide margin.

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

Trump reportedly met with other potential candidates — state Treasurer Jeff DeWit and Robert Graham, former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party — for the seat before his August campaign rally at the Phoenix Convention Center.

U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Arizona) was also involved in the meeting, which Politico described as a “backstage huddle.” During the huddle, Trump reportedly referred to Flake as “the flake” and “discussed the potential for a primary challenge to Flake.”

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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Screenshot via Phoenix Police Facebook)...
Marcia Hammond

2 Phoenix officers, 2 bystanders pull injured driver from burning car

Two Phoenix police officers who pulled an unconscious man from a burning SUV this week shrugged off praise and said the rescue was all in a day's work.
12 hours ago
A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of coronavirus walks past a health campaign poster f...
KTAR.com

Arizona’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 26,000, 11th most in nation

Arizona’s COVID-19 death count surpassed 26,000 on Friday, 15 days after reaching the 25,000 mark.
12 hours ago
William Rice, left, and Christina Harnish (Pima County Sheriff's Department Photos)...
Associated Press

2 suspects in 2017 Maryland murder case arrested at Arizona homeless camp

A man and woman wanted in connection with a Maryland murder case in 2017 have been arrested at a homeless camp in southern Arizona, authorities said Thursday.
12 hours ago
(Screenshot/ADOT Webcam)...
KTAR.com

2 die in wrong-way crash on southbound Loop 303 in West Valley early Friday

Two people died in a wrong-way crash that shut down part of Loop 303 in the West Valley early Friday.
12 hours ago
(ASU Screenshot)...
Taylor Tasler

ASU professor, students build air filters to help keep kids safe from COVID-19 while in class

Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Meghan Jehn and students from Arizona State University are building DIY Corsi-Rosenthal boxes, which can filter out air particles that can carry viruses like COVID-19.
12 hours ago
(File Photo by Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images)...
Griselda Zetino

Report points to why Arizona Latino students have been falling behind academically

A new report shines a light on factors that for decades have been causing Latino students in Arizona to lag behind many of their peers.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

HVAC upkeep in Arizona saves money, keeps families prepared in the long run

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
...
ENVOQUE MD

Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Sen. Jeff Flake says he will not run for re-election in 2018