Flake’s Ability to Win Statewide Election Questionable

Can Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake win a statewide election?

The jury returns on election night, but for now questions abound.

As a member of the House of Representatives since 2000, Flake has a record that is thin to say the least.

Yes, he has supported the sanctity of human life.

However, he is a back bencher who was never trusted with any significant degree of leadership.

Flake has draw the scorn of conservatives for supporting McCain-style amnesty, and he opposed state legislation and ballot propositions aimed at plugging the sieve of illegals at the border. He’s been on the wrong side of the issue his entire tenure in Washington.

As the handpicked candidate of Sen. John McCain and the retiring Jon Kyl, Flake has the power and muscle of the McCain machine behind him. That’s the machine that ran a vicious, negative campaign that bloodied J.D. Hayworth two years ago. Flake’s got a huge money advantage on conservative Gilbert challenger Wil Cardon. And McCain’s puppetry of Flake has discouraged most conservatives who might have entertained notions of running for Kyl’s seat.

Flake’s Mormon religion has been his ticket to re-election in Gilbert, but it won’t go as far in a statewide race. When Matt Salmon ran for governor 10 years ago, cross-over Republicans enabled left-winger Janet Napolitano to over-perform in Republican districts in Scottsdale and Tucson and defeat him. The same may hold true for Flake.

By supporting the homosexual agenda’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA, Flake forfeitted any pretense of conservative credentials. In fact, that alone will get him a primary endorsement over Cardon in the Republican primary.  Flake was one of very few Republicans to fall for that left-wing bill that threatens religious freedom in Arizona and every other state.

Richard Carmona is likely to win the Democrat Party’s primary opposite Flake, and could be a formidable opponent. In some regards, Flake would not offer enough of a contrast from Carmona to merit victory in a statewide election. Carmona is a former U.S. surgeon general and will have no shortage of national fundraising support. As a long-time member of the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, Carmona was a SWAT team member and highly decorated officer. He is a combat-decorated Vietnam War veteran. His background is much more impressive than Flake’s, and Democrats are sniffing blood in the water because they see Flake as vulnerable and Kyl’s seat as a great opportunity to gain a seat long held by Republicans.

Carmona isn’t divulging much about his views on the issues on his campaign website, but he may well position himself as a moderate. That could pose problems for Flake with the state’s 1 million registered Independents.

Flake’s ability to hold his own in a high-profile debate against an opponent with professional experience is another question mark.

According to Roll Call:

Rep. Jeff Flake is considered to have the inside track for the GOP nod in the Senate race. But over the past few weeks, some Republican strategists in the state have begun to wonder whether previous stances on immigration and cap-and-trade might prove to be an Achilles’ heel in the GOP primary.

In 2009, Flake introduced legislation that would put a carbon tax on the production and distribution of fossil fuels with offsets to the payroll tax. But he later criticized the cap-and-trade bill that eventually passed the House that year.

It’s that lack of discipline that causes conservatives angst about Flake. And other than a tenure as director of the Goldwater Insitute, Flake hasn’t held a non-government job or served with the distinction Carmona has.

By staking their hopes on Flake, Arizona’s establishment Republicans may be handing a seat to the Democrats in an election year when every seat is critical to the GOP’s hopes of taking control of the Senate.

13 thoughts on “Flake’s Ability to Win Statewide Election Questionable

  1. Chandler Right

    And in Cardon or McCardon as we can call him, we have someone whos he and his family have always supported McCain/Flake/Kyl etc. I hope this is not your conservative hope to save us. Look at today this three year old story and after the story was brought to light (even though I dont think it is a bad story at all traveling while on foreign affairs committee) but Cardon seems to think it is bad now, but still after that was on a fundraiser for Flake and maxed out. So now what?

  2. arizona today

    It’s amazing how the McCainiacs crawl out of the woodwork to support their chosen boys and trash anyone standing in the way. Right out of the McCain Trash ‘Em Playbook. Flake will be out of the picture in District 6! And the McCain Camp can rack up another loss, come November.

    1. Chandler Right

      Hope you were not talking about my comments, how was mine any way pro McCain? Cardon is just another one of McCain’s boys. the family has been funding his campaigns for years.

  3. Aide Sviras

    Um, Cardon supported amnesty and is a Mormon. Yes, Carmona would be a formidable opponent, but ask yourself – if Flake is the weaker Republican in the general, then why is the Arizona Democrat Party and Carmona’s own campaign manager out peddling Cardon’s website?

  4. arizona today

    Chandler Right: No, no. Flake is the handpicked puppet candidate of McCain, who will be easy to control and who is now in training to be Maverick Junior. Do you really think the Cardon family is going to back McCain with their own family member in the race? Of course not! Flake’s entrenched in the McCain-Kyl cabal. Apparently you were not aware of this.

    1. Chandler Right

      AZ today, of course they wont support him, but the thing is they have a long history of supporting Flake and McCain so why is it different now? How can we trust someone to all of a sudden be different when they are long time financial backers.

  5. arizona today

    Aide Sviras from Team McCain: Cardon has no voting record on the border invasion. Yes he is a Mormon, too, and cannot win a statewide election. However, he has not been tainted by McCain’s machine and is the outsider looking in at the formidable McCain machine. Flake is the non-conservative, certainly the least conservative of any of the four candidates in the Senate race. I think you’ve answered your own question about Democrats citing Cardon’s publicity: because Cardon is accurately portraying Flake for what he is: a flawed, Romneyesque candidate, a hollow man who in 11 years has not changed Washington and who does not fully represent GOP values.

  6. EVBro

    Chandler Right is obviously a paid staffer for the Flake or an intern. Maybe it in the Congressman himself who can’t handle someone pointing out that he isn’t the perfect conservative that his handlers try to portray him to be. Flake needs to put on his clothes and get a real job! AZ doesn’t want this flip flop phony as our next Senator.

  7. Aide Sviras

    Not tainted by the McCain machine? Are you drunk? Cardon threw a fundraiser for Flake just last year. The entire Cardon family has been sending money to Flake and McCain for years.

    The only reason Cardon is in the race is to help Carmona win this seat.

  8. arizona today

    Your logic makes no sense. You say Cardon helped Flake and McCain and now he’s helping Carmona? Get real! You sound lubricated. By the way, how do you know the Cardons’ spending habits? If Cardon supported McFlakeCain, why is he running AGAINST him?

  9. arizona today

    Chandler Right: Cardon is running AGAINST Flake. Many Gilbert Mormon conservatives have detested Flake for favoring amnesty for years. You can trust the fact that Cardon is running against him; how does that HELP him? It doesn’t. He’s running ads against Flake, he’s campaigning against him. This is black and white stuff, cut and dried. There is no gray area.

  10. arizona today

    The past is gone. It’s 2012, and Cardon is running against Flake. There’s no one else in the race. You can bet McCain, Kyl and their surrogates are pressuring Cardon to get lost. You can bet they are annoyed that anyone would have the audacity to oppose their hand-picked man.

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