WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, announced Tuesday he would not run for re-election in 2018, condemning in a speech aimed at President Donald Trump the “flagrant disregard of truth and decency” that is undermining American democracy.
In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Flake said, “There are times we must risk our careers. Now is such a time.”
Flake, who has criticized the path that the Republican Party has taken under Trump, said the impulse to threaten and scapegoat” threatens to turn America and the GOP into a “fearful, backward looking people” and a “fearful, backward looking party.” Flake didn’t mention Trump by name, but clearly was directing his remarks at the president and his administration.
Flake is a conservative who favors limited government and free markets.
“A political career does not mean much if we are complicit in undermining these values,” he said.
After bucking Trump in a state the president won, Flake is bottoming out in polls. Republicans may be left with a hard-core conservative challenger that might win the primary but lose in the general election.