The drama continues in the Arizona Senate race. Reports are streaming from Washington that President Trump or key White House aides discussed challenging Sen. Jeff Flake (R) with three individuals either already in the race or considering entering the Republican primary. Politico is reporting that contact with former state Senator Kelli Ward, who is already an announced candidate, former Arizona Republican Party chairman Robert Graham, and state Treasurer Jeff DeWit has occurred. The latter was Mr. Trump’s Arizona campaign chairman and it appears Mr. DeWit has talked directly to the President about his potential US Senate campaign. The Arizona Treasurer has already announced that he will not seek re-election to his current position.
The story’s premise is that the President wants to actively support a primary challenge to Sen. Flake, a GOP office holder with whom he engaged in a major public battle during most of the presidential campaign. Democrats remain on the sideline waiting to see if Flake falls into a situation that will cause chaos in a late August 2018 primary. Three credible Democrats are all eying their chances, but so far have not jumped into the Senate race. US Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix), Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, and state Rep. Randy Friese (D-Tucson) are the individuals in question. Rep. Sinema is in her third congressional term. Mayor Stanton was re-elected in 2015. Dr. Friese is the physician who saved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life when she was tragically shot in 2011. He was subsequently elected to the state House of Representatives but remains a practicing surgeon.
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