Jeff Flake prefers voting for GOP, just not at top of ticket this time
PHOENIX – Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said breaking with fellow Republicans on his choice for president doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a conservative.
“I’m a Republican. Conservative is the kind of governing I prefer,” Flake said Tuesday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.
A day after announcing he was endorsing Democratic nominee Joe Biden instead of President Donald Trump, Flake said, “This doesn’t mean that I’m voting Democrat down the ticket.”
“I just won’t vote for the president.”
Flake and a group of Arizonans who are part of Republicans for Biden endorsed the former vice president while the GOP convention got underway to renominate Trump.
Republicans for Biden include former U.S. Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona, former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley and former staffers to Sen. John McCain, with whom Flake worked from 2013 until 2018, when McCain died of brain cancer.
“Most of my ballot, I’m sure, will be going for Republicans,” Flake said, “but in the past I’ve voted for Democrats.”
He said he voted for Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone over incumbent Joe Arpaio in 2016.
In an increasing close race in his old chamber, Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly are butting heads.
The winner will fill out the rest of McCain’s term, which runs through 2022. McSally was appointed to the seat in December 2018.
Flake said he’d decide between the two when he was voting.
“But some in my party have unquestioningly supported the president when they should have stood up. Obviously, that’s factored in.”
Flake is no stranger to supporting the president he so often criticized.
According to political statistics website FiveThirtyEight, Flake voted in favor of Trump positions 81% of the time 2017-2018.
Flake did not run for reelection. Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took over his seat in January 2019.