Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced today that he is dropping out of the Senate race. Flake was one of the least popular members of the Senate and his chances for re-election were slim.
Flake joins Sen. Bob Corker in recognizing that with little chance of re-election opting out saves face.
Flake will serve out the remainder of his term.
Currently, former state senator Dr. Kelli Ward is the front-runner in the Republican Primary race.
Last week, former White House strategist Steve Bannon made an appearance at a fundraiser for Ward. Talk-show host Laura Ingraham was the headliner for the event at the Scottsdale Hilton.
Arizona State Rep. Bob Thorpe stated, “I want to thank Senator Jeff Flake for his many years of service. Flake faced serious problems with Arizona voters, who had hoped that he would have fully supported our new Republican President Trump, and are still upset at all the positive support that he freely gave to former Democrat President Obama. Many Republicans have confided in me their concern about Kelli Ward’s ability to win in the general election. I personally like and served with Ward in the State Legislature, until she abruptly resigned early (without completing her first and only Legislative term) in order to run against Senator McCain, where she lost to McCain (51-39) in the primary a mere 14 months ago. After her KelliPac was recently infused with over $300,000, Ward’s early aggressive ads have given her a lead over Flake. However, after virtually running for the U.S. Senate for the past 4-years, Ward has still not polished her talking points at events. At this point in time, it is unclear whether Ward could beat a more capable Republican in the primary, or for example, Congresswoman Sinema in the general election.”
In August, a small statewide Arizona survey of 400 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows Republican incumbent Senator Jeff Flake twelve points behind his primary Republican opponent Kelli Ward and eight points behind prospective Democratic opponent U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-9).
Q. If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?
28.2% Jeff Flake
42.5% Kelli Ward
5.1% Some other candidate
24.2% Don’t know, Refused
Q. If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?
32.5% Jeff Flake
40.5% Kyrsten Sinema
27.0% Don’t know, Refused
The Republican Primary Election sample was of 273 high efficacy Republican and PND/Independent voters and has a margin of error of ±5.93%. The General Election sample of 400 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.88%.
The survey showed that Congresswoman Sinema is not known by 45% of the electorate in Arizona while Ward was beaten by nearly 100,000 votes in her primary election against Senator John McCain in 2016.
Additionally, General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender.
The survey showed that Sinema enjoys a 51% approval rating among voters in her Congressional district which is largely within the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, which are more progressive, urban areas of the State.
Although a 14-point margin is a sizeable gap for Senator Flake, Arizona is known for its volatility when it comes to statewide races. Politicos such as Governors Fife Symington and Jan Brewer have been able to successfully rally from greater margins in shorter periods of time.
The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.