GOP Sen. Jeff Flake won’t seek re-election in 2018
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., often seen as a critic of President Trump, said Tuesday he won’t seek re-election in 2018.
In a statement to the Arizona Republic, Flake said he had become convinced that “there may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”
Flake was up for re-election next year and faced a stiff primary challenge from Kelli Ward, who is backed by former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.
“This spell will pass, but not by next year,” Flake told the Republic.
Flake has had a tulmultuous relationship with the Trump administration. In August, he criticized Trump’s immigration policy in a New York Times opinion piece. In response, the president tweeted that Flake was “WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in the Senate.”
Earlier that month, Flake told NBC News that Republicans should have spoken up against the so-called “birther” theory, pushed by Trump, that former President Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.
“I wish that we, as a party, would have stood up…when the birtherism thing was going along,” Flake said at the time. “That was particularly ugly.”
Flake, 54, was elected to the Senate in 2012 after 12 years in the House of Representatives.