Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake just became the latest Republican to announce his retirement from the Senate, after only one term. Flake came in with a reputation as one of the House’s solid conservatives; but since joining the Senate, he’s become one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken critics. He bowed out with the type of righteous anti-Trump speech beloved by the Beltway media. Some will praise him for standing on principle, while others will dismiss it as an audition for MSNBC. You can watch it at the link and decide for yourself.
But voters back home in Arizona don’t seem likely to buy that Flake is leaving on principle. A number of commenters online claimed that they didn’t know any Republicans who still supported him. That’s borne out by the latest JMC Analytics poll, where Trump had a 76% approval rating among Arizona Republicans while Flake was at 22%. Sixty-six percent want a different GOP Senate candidate next year, and Flake is currently trailing primary challenger Dr. Kelli Ward by 26 points.
There’s an old joke that when a politician says he’s quitting because he wants to spend more time with his family, that means he realizes he’s going to lose. It’s possible that Sen. Flake realized that if his poll numbers keep up the current trend, by next November, his family might be the only Arizona Republicans still supporting him.
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