AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) Reportedly to Announce Senate Run Today

So says Dan Nowicki of the Arizona Republic:

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., will announce Monday that he will run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl, a source has told The Arizona Republic.

Flake, who was first elected to Congress in 2000, has long expressed interest in running for the Senate. He will make it official at an 8 a.m. news conference at the same Phoenix hotel where Kyl on Thursday announced that he will retire when his current term ends in January 2013.

The Hotline’s Sean Sullivan points out that Flake has $627K in his House campaign account. Flake’s 6th CD would become the third open seat this cycle (not counting the resignations in CA-36 and NY-26), and of course, we can’t really predict what this district will look like after Arizona’s redistricting comission finishes its work. But it’s pretty brutally red (McCain 61%, though that was actually worse than Bush), so there probably won’t be a lot of open seat excitement in this corner of the state.

UPDATE: It’s official. This is what he’s focusing on, at least for now:

Flake says his priorities include balancing the federal government’s budget, securing the border and working on transportation and water policy issues.

Flake says broader action is needed on illegal immigration than just border security but that border security “needs to be the focus.”

On the budget, Flake says everything needs to be on the table, including possible changes to Social Security. But he said changes shouldn’t apply to current beneficiaries.

86 thoughts on “AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) Reportedly to Announce Senate Run Today”

  1. there’s been no polling done on this. That’s kind of understandable, since Kyl’s retirement is not a full week old, but Flake’s not an obscure guy nor a newcomer like Ben Quayle. I said in another thread that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him do well, but before we give up, we should at least see some evidence of his power–especially because he doesn’t support SB1070, which is supposedly the big obstacle for Democrats in the state.  

  2. Kyl was the republican frontrunner here, Brewer later (despite to be unlikely she runs), and Flake third.

    That can give some chance, we will see… Time for wait (to G Giffords) in the democratic side.

  3. I doubt that Flake is a shoo-in for the nomination, his libertarian tendencies have produced enough apostasy for some right wingers that he will doubtless face a contested primary.

    Last  heard, Franks is looking seriously at the race — he is a hard core social conservative, and doubtless would try to pound Flake on issues like DADT, immigration, and other issues were Flake may be vulnerable to a hard right primary electorate.

    For Flake, I suspect the more people get into the primary, the better off he would be — so he is probably hoping that all of the crazies jump in – Fyfe Symington, Russell Pearce, Joe Arpaio, JD Hayworth, etc.

    If Flake really is the likeliest Republican nominee, the time is now to start softening him up for the general as well. In a state like Arizona with so many seniors, his stands on cutbacks in Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that assistance retirees needs to be highlighted and challenged enough to drive home the statewide impression that he is a danger to these lifesaving programs. Just because we don’t know who will run for the Democrats yet doesn’t mean the party should be standing by quietly – as soon as this guy announces, we need to be reminding voters exactly how radical his agenda is.

  4. I’m predicting an AZ-03-style five-ring-frackas, though this district is much more reflexively Republican so I don’t know that there is much hay we could make here. I haven’t seen a rundown of possible candidates here, but State House Speaker Kirk Adams lives here. Most of Russell Pearce’s is in this district as well. They don’t really care for each other (regular conservative who recognizes that occasionally government has to do stuff competently v. guy who wants to turn the state government into nothing but an immigrant-harassing machine), so that could be an interesting start right there.

    And you guys, the Arizona righties just aren’t that into Jeff.  

  5. If Jeff Flake was elected, he would be the first Mormon senator from Arizona, right? It seems like that would be a pretty strong base to go from in the Republican primary, and might help him, especially since none of the other prominent Republicans being mentioned (except for Russell Pearce, who has already signaled he’s more likely to run for Flake’s seat then the Senate) are Mormons.

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