With Flake Out, Here’s Who Might Run for Arizona Senate

By NTK Staff | 10.30.2017 @12:00pm

Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) surprise announcement last week that he would not seek reelection has set in motion a GOP scramble to put up a serious candidate to replace him. Here’s a break down: Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02): McSally is a two-term congresswoman who represents southeast Arizona, including Tucson. She served 26 years in the […]

Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R-AZ) surprise announcement last week that he would not seek reelection has set in motion a GOP scramble to put up a serious candidate to replace him.

Here’s a break down:

Rep. Martha McSally (AZ-02): McSally is a two-term congresswoman who represents southeast Arizona, including Tucson. She served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force and was the first female fighter pilot in U.S. history to fly into combat and lead a fighter squadron into combat. Politically, she’s a “proven fundraiser and disciplined messenger who can unite moderates and conservatives,” according to sources.

Former Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05): Salmon has retired from Congress twice now and briefly considered challenging Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in 2016 but ultimately opted against it. He is reportedly receiving calls to jump in the race from the Club For Growth, who calls him a “proven, principle conservative who has been a fighter for economic freedom.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ-04): Gosar initially said he would seek reelection to his House seat, but a day later told a closed-door meeting of the Arizona congressional delegation that he was interested. A member of the House Freedom Caucus, Gosar is a vocal supporter of President Trump and is in his fourth term.

State Sen. Kelli Ward: Ward is a perennial candidate who ran against McCain in 2016 and was running against Flake before he announced his retirement last week. A known conspiracy theorist, Ward struggles to fundraise and to be taken seriously because of outlandish comments she’s made and controversial campaign tactics. No fan of Flake’s, Trump seemed to initially warm to Ward’s candidacy but backed away upon closer examination.

No matter who Republicans nominate, they are likely to face a tough race against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), the Democrat who represents Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District. Though she has not yet announced her candidacy, most expect her to run for the open seat.

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