Flailing Sen. Jeff Flake drops out of 2018 race, set to retire

Telling the Arizona Republic that “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party,” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection, according to Politico, announced that he will not run for re-election in 2018 and will retire after his current term is up.

According to The Republic:

Condemning the nastiness of Republican politics in the era of President Donald Trump, Sen. Jeff Flake on Tuesday announced he will serve out the remainder of his term but will not seek re-election in 2018.

The bombshell, which Flake, R-Ariz., intended to detail Tuesday afternoon on the Senate floor, will further roil Republican hopes of keeping the party’s 52-seat Senate majority in the midterm elections of Trump’s first term, when the president’s party historically loses seats in Congress.

It also likely will upend the race for Flake’s seat.

The report said that Flake, a frequent critic of President Trump, is lagging in the polls against Dr. Kelli Ward.

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“Here’s the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” he told The Republic. “It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”

The Republic characterized Flake as “a traditional, libertarian-leaning conservative Republican,” but the Conservative Review gave the junior senator from Arizona a failing grade of 53 percent.

Heritage Action for America was a bit more generous, giving Flake a grade of 67.

Flake, The Republic added, “said he has ruled out running as an independent rather than a Republican, saying he didn’t think that was a viable strategy. He also said he has ‘no intention’ of making a presidential run.”

Flake’s announcement means that Dr. Kelli Ward is at the top of the list for Republican primary voters, but, The Republic said, other Republicanss have been mentioned as possibilities, including Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham and Arizona Board of Regents member Jay Heiler.

Last month, Breitbart’s Steve Bannon told the New York Times that if Flake “doesn’t get a better poll in the next 30 days, you’re going to see him step down or the establishment is going to make him.”

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