Rep. Jeff Flake Wins Arizona GOP Senate Primary
Congressman Jeff Flake won last night’s Republican primary for the Senate seat currently held by Arizona’s Jon Kyl:
U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake handily won the Republican primary in the race to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl, setting up a general-election race with former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona that is expected to be much more competitive.
Flake, who has served six terms in the House, jumped out to a huge lead over businessman Wil Cardon, who spent millions of his own dollars trying to win the GOP nomination. Cardon, a political unknown, had flooded the radio and TV airwaves with his ads, but in pre-election polls, Flake always held commanding double-digit leads — a difference that showed up immediately in Tuesday’s vote counts.
Flake will now face Carmona, who had no opponent in the primary. Some polls earlier in the summer indicated Carmona in a tight race with Flake and with a slight advantage in campaign funds headed into the general election.
Flake, speaking from his home in Mesa on Tuesday night, said he believes he and Carmona offer such differing visions for Arizona that voters will find the choice easy to make.
“I’m going to be talking about jobs, the economy, about our debt, our deficit, what our federal government needs to do to allow job creation,” Flake said. “What you’ll see is Rich Carmona defending the president’s agenda. It’s what he’s done so far, and it’s what he’s going to do.”
Carmona’s campaign said the Democratic candidate will air his first television spot starting today. It will highlight his personal story as a special-forces soldier, a trauma surgeon and a deputy sheriff.
Kyl, who endorsed Flake as his replacement, suggested Cardon’s attacks on Flake did him no good in the election.
“His (Cardon’s) reputation has not been enhanced at all,” Kyl told The Arizona Republic during an interview Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. “He hurt Jeff Flake, which will not be good for the general election, and he divided the Republican electorate.”
The polling on a Flake-Carmona race has been all over the place. Currently, the RCP average gives Flake a +6.7 advantage, and one poll back in July had him as much as 16 points ahead. However, a more recent Public Policy Polling poll, had the race tied. The one thing prevalent in all the polls, though, is a fairly high undecided number at 20% or higher. This should be an interesting race to watch, but, this being Arizona, it would seem that Flake will be aided by strong Romney coattails. I would expect this to be a Republican hold in November.