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Jeff Flake Drops Out, Denounces Trump

Arizona senator won't run for re-election, bemoans 'lack of decency' in DC
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2017 2:37 PM CDT
Updated Oct 24, 2017 3:48 PM CDT
Jeff Flake Won't Run Again, Sees 'Lack of Decency' in DC
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

(Newser) – In a surprise move, GOP Sen. Jeff Flake said Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in Arizona. Flake had tangled often with President Trump and had been seen as vulnerable to a challenge from the Steve Bannon wing of the party. Flake said he was a "traditional conservative" and feared there was no longer a place for politicians like him in the GOP. In a blistering speech, he bemoaned a "flagrant disregard of truth and decency" in today's politics, with the AP calling it a "tacit broadside" against Trump.

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  • Full text: Read the transcript of Flake's speech here. One snippet: “It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that?. When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? I rise to say, enough.”
  • Another 'scalp': Flake was probably the most vulnerable Republican up for re-election, notes Politico, which calls his speech a "full-throated denunciation of President Trump." The site also collects a quote from an adviser to the pro-Trump non-profit Great America Alliance. “Steve Bannon adds another scalp to his collection."
  • GOP majority: The New York Times calls the speech "extraordinary," adding that Flake's departure calls into question whether the GOP can retain his seat and, in the bigger picture, its majority in the Senate.

  • White House: There was no immediate reaction from Trump, but press chief Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the speech "petty" and said Flake was destined to lose his seat anyway, per the Washington Post.
  • Bannon/Breitbart: The Breitbart site collects reaction from Bannon in two tweets, which read in full: "Our movement will defeat you in primaries or force you to retire. The days of establishment Republicans who oppose the people's America First agenda are numbered."
  • Senate race: The Arizona Republic assesses the "bombshell," which makes former state senator Kelli Ward, who lost a primary challenge to John McCain last year, the current GOP frontrunner. The primary winner is expected to face Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the general election.
(Read more Jeff Flake stories.)

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