by Jason DeWitt | Top Right News
In a surprise announcement that stunned Washington, an anti-Trump GOP Senator the president targeted for primary defeat has dropped out.
Embattled Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, one of the most outspoken Republicans against Donald J. Trump announced Tuesday he will not run for re-election.
Flake — who campaigned as a “conservative”, but who had nothing but praise for Barack Obama for 8 years, and was one of the failed “Gang of 8” Senate attempt to push mass amnesty for illegals, incessantly bashed Trump for 11 months since his election.
But Trump gave it right back, promising to spend his own money to defeat Flake in the 2018 primary.
Now, as with anti-Trumper RINO Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who announced last month he would be stepping down, the president once again prevailed.
The Hill reports:
Flake, one of President Trump’s most outspoken critics within the GOP, told the newspaper that he will drop out of the race because he feels out of step with the party.
“There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party,” he told the paper.
Flake’s decision comes amid Trump’s feuds with critical GOP senators. Earlier on Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), another Trump detractor who announced in September that wouldn’t run for reelection, blasted the president in television interviews. Trump responded with tweets, once again calling the Tennesee senator “liddle’ Bob.”
Flake said running in the Republican primary would require him to “condone behavior that I cannot condone.”
“The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” Flake told the paper. “It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”
Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been gathering Trump loyalists and conservative grass roots forces in an effort to back primary challengers to senators, including Flake, who had been perceived as disloyal to Trump. Bannon endorsed Kelli Ward, who had been Flake’s leading primary challenger until he announced his retirement. Polls have shown Ward out-polling Flake in the primary match-up.
A late August poll showed Flake primary challenger Dr. Kelli Ward, a former Arizona state senator, ahead of Flake by double digits. The poll showed twice as many Arizona Republicans supporting Ward than Flake.
During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, he is reported to have said he would consider spending $10 million to back a challenger to Flake.
Shortly after news broke of his plans to retire, Flake took to the floor of the U.S. Senate to explain his decision to abandon a re-election bid.
The announcement comes just a few days after conservative radio host Laura Ingraham and Breitbart News Executive Chairman and former White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon campaigned for Ward in Phoenix.