Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R) retirement announcement has certainly greased the Arizona political wheels for movement. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson) has yet to make a public statement about running but is clearly the Republicans’ best candidate on paper and is reportedly getting strong encouragement to run. Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Prescott) and Trent Franks (R-Peoria/Sun City), along with Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Phoenix), say they will seek re-election to the House. Freshman Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) is also much more likely to remain where he is than enter the Senate race. Former US Representative and gubernatorial nominee Matt Salmon (R-Mesa) has not ruled out a run, and state Treasurer Jeff DeWit, a former Trump state chairman, indicated that his view toward running for the Senate may change now that Sen. Flake is no longer in the picture. Ex-state Republican Party chairman Robert Graham says he will decide within the next week.
There is stirring on the Democratic side, too. Before Sen. Flake announced his retirement, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) was making major strides in coalescing Democrats around her budding candidacy. Now that the seat is open, the political situation is becoming more fluid. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Tucson), while taking himself out of the statewide race, says that the party’s liberal faction may want to look for a candidate to the left of Sinema instead of falling in behind the three-term Phoenix Congresswoman.
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