WASHINGTON—The White House said on Tuesday that it was probably a good thing that Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) had announced he won’t be seeking re-election, given his low popularity in his home state of Arizona.
Flake had announced his decision in a 17-minute speech on the Senate floor earlier in the day.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during the White House daily briefing that she hadn’t spoken yet to the president since Flake’s announcement, but that it was probably best.
“I think that, based on previous statements, and certainly based on the lack of support that he has from the people of Arizona, it’s probably a good thing,” Sander said.
Jeff had been identified by Democrats as one of the most vulnerable Republicans up for re-election.
“I think that the people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president and I don’t think that the numbers are in favor of either of those two senators in their states,” Sander said referring to Flake and Tennessee’s Sen. Bob Corker.
Flake, who came to the Senate in 2013, suffered from an extremely low approval rating and is far behind his primary challenger, Kelli Ward, in the polls.
According to a survey from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling released in August, only 18 percent of Arizona voters approve of Flake’s job.
A JMC Analytics poll released late August showed Flake’s primary challenger, Kelli Ward, has a 26 percent lead over him.
Flake has been a fierce opponent of President Donald Trump and took several jabs at the president during his speech on the Senate floor.
Trump won the state of Arizona in the 2016 Presidential elections by 48 to 44 percent over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Arizona’s senior Senator, John McCain, has also been fiercely critical of Trump, and is also unpopular among Republican voters. An August Quinnipiac University Poll found that 74 percent of Democrats hold a favorable opinion of McCain compared to only 39 percent of Republicans.
McCain surprised Republican leaders in late July when he unexpectedly voted against a Republican healthcare bill that would have replaced and repealed parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Many Republicans criticized McCain for backtracking on a key promise he and other Republicans had made to voters.
Ward lost the Republican primary for McCain’s Senate seat last year in a 51 to 39 percent vote.
Following Flake’s announcement, Ward wrote on Twitter: “Arizona voters are the big winner in @JeffFlake’s decision to not seek reelection. They deserve a strong, conservative in the Senate.”
She also said that she supports Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda.
From The Epoch Times