Flake Vulnerable In GOP Primary As Trump Allies Seek To Topple Senator

Talking Points Memo | 10/7/2017 | Staff
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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s re-election race is becoming a case study in the GOP’s convulsions between the establishment, a furious base and angry donors.

After bucking Donald Trump in a state the president won, Flake is bottoming out in polls. Yet Republicans look like they may be stuck with a hard-core conservative challenger who some fear could win the primary but lose in the general election.

White - House - Search - Candidate - State

A White House search for a candidate to replace former state Sen. Kelli Ward in the primary appears to have hit a wall. And now conservatives want to turn Arizona into the latest example of a Trump Train outsider taking down a member of the GOP establishment.

“People are fooling themselves if they think Jeff Flake is anything but a walking dead member of the United State Senate,” said Andy Surabian, whose Great America Alliance is backing Ward.

Numbers - White - House - Adviser - Steve

“I don’t see how he survives a primary. I don’t see how he survives a general. The numbers just don’t add up,” added Surabian, who worked at the White House as an adviser to Steve Bannon, then the president’s top strategist.

Despite discontent among some Republicans over Ward, Bannon met with her last week at a conservative conference in Colorado Springs to encourage her campaign, according to a Republican official who demanded anonymity to disclose the previously unreported private meeting.

Ward - Arizona - Senator - John - McCain

Ward unsuccessfully challenged Arizona’s senior senator, John McCain, in last year’s election, losing in the primary by a wide margin. But in Flake, she would face a more vulnerable candidate at a moment when the GOP establishment is on the defensive, facing a simmering anti-incumbent mood heightened by Republicans’ failure to make good on seven years of promises to scrap Barack Obama’s health care law.

Flake is in danger of becoming the latest victim of this voter wrath. Yet...
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