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What They’re Saying: Flake Has “Reason to Worry” in AZ Senate Race

After “first-tier Democratic candidate” Representative Kyrsten Sinema launched her campaign for the U.S. Senate, read what Arizonans and Republican donors are reading about Flake’s new “competitive challenger” and how his “reelection outlook has continued to darken.”

Ratings Change: Cook Political Report: Arizona Senate: Sinema’s Candidacy Puts Race in Toss Up.

  • “Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is getting challenged from both the right and the left in his bid for a second term. The first hurdle will be a competitive primary. If he clears that obstacle, he will likely face a competitive challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.”
  • “Flake’s challenge seems to be getting much more difficult now that there is a first-tier Democratic candidate in the race. The contest moves to the Toss Up column.

Ratings Change: Inside Elections: Arizona Moves to “Toss Up.”

  • Sinema will be a challenging opponent for Republicans. She is a tireless Member, a good fundraiser ($3.2 million on hand on June 30), and boasts moderate credentials. She is one of five Democrats who was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last cycle.”
  • Even though Trump won Arizona, Flake looks like the most vulnerable Republican senator in the country. Sinema should be a strong candidate. We’re changing our rating from Tilt Republican to Toss-up.

New York Times: Jeff Flake, in Feud with Trump, Now Faces Challenge from the Left.

  • Senator Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican whose public feud with President Trump had already fueled a primary challenge from the right, now has reason to worry about his left flank: Representative Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist Democrat with a powerful biography, announced she will seek Mr. Flake’s Senate seat in 2018.”
  • ‘Flake is now getting attacked both from the right and the left,’ said Jennifer Duffy, who analyzes Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. ‘He shouldn’t be that vulnerable. Trump carried Arizona by four points, so Flake should start this race with an advantage. But having a competitive primary to his right and a first-tier candidate to his left really engages this seat.’”
  • “[Flake’s primary opponent] is drawing interest from the populist wing of Mr. Trump’s party, including from Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former chief strategist. Mr. Flake’s new book, “Conscience of a Conservative,” has also stoked anger among Trump supporters both in and outside of Arizona.”

Arizona Republic: Roberts: Kyrsten Sinema in, GOP honchos hyperventilate.

  • “Arizona Republican Party honchos must be breathing into paper bags today. With Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema officially entering the race for U.S. Senate, they’ve got to be hyperventilating at the increasingly real prospect of losing a Senate seat to Democrats for the first time in three decades.”
  • Additionally, “polls show that Republican primary challenger Kelli Ward is way ahead of Flake, a guy who has not endeared himself to the base with his frequent criticisms of President Donald Trump and his prior push for immigration reform. The problem for the GOP is this: the hard-right Ward may win the primary. But she has absolutely no chance of winning a statewide election against Minnie Mouse much less Krysten Sinema.”

Arizona Republic: The far right ousted a GOP incumbent in Alabama. Is Sen. Jeff Flake next on its hit list?

  • Sen. Jeff Flake’s 2018 re-election outlook continued to darken after conservative Roy Moore’s decisive victory over incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama’s Republican primary runoff.”
  • “Rep. Kyrsten Sinema announced Thursday her entry into the Democratic Senate primary, prompting the Cook Political Report to change its rating for the Arizona race to ‘Toss Up’ — joining other national political handicappers who previously downgraded Republican chances of holding Flake’s seat.”

Cronkite News: Sinema’s long-expected challenge to Flake shakes up Senate race.

  • “One day after Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s long-anticipated announcement of a 2018 challenge to Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a liberal group was pledging to raise money for her and two political consultants changed their outlook on the race to ‘toss up.’”
  • “The Phoenix Democrat has positioned herself as a moderate and is considered a strong fundraiser, two elements that should help in a race against Flake, who was seen as one of the most vulnerable senators seeking re-election next year.”

The Daily Beast: Democrats Just Got a Top-Tier Senate Candidate in Arizona.

  • “Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate Democrat from Arizona, has announced that she is entering her state’s Senate race, boosting her party’s odds of potentially winning the seat.”

Shareblue: Vulnerable GOP senator already losing to Ironman triathlete congresswoman who just got in race.

  • “There is no question that Arizona Republican Jeff Flake is one of the most vulnerable senators, from either party, up for reelection in 2018. And polls show that he is in massive trouble just as a promising Democratic challenger is stepping up.”
  • “The problem for Flake is that absolutely nobody likes him. He has rubber-stamped the Trump agenda on the Senate floor. He repeatedly voted to strip healthcare from his own constituents and end Medicaid as we know it, incensing liberals and moderates, and signaled clearly that he would have voted for Graham-Cassidy even though he casually admitted he had not read it.”

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