GOP Sen. Flake says he will not seek re-election, retire in 2018

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., walks to his seat as he attends a luncheon in July with other GOP Senators and President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced on Oct. 24, he won’t seek re-election.

Photo by Associated Press.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., walks to his seat as he attends a luncheon in July with other GOP Senators and President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington. Flake, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump, announced on Oct. 24, he won’t seek re-election.

WASHINGTON — 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.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said: “I want to thank Jeff Flake for representing Arizona in the House and Senate for nearly two decades. Jeff was a voice for fiscal responsibility at the federal level before it was popular, and effectively ended the practice of earmarks. I’ve appreciated his friendship, professionalism and intellect on policy issues impacting Arizona. I wish all the best for Jeff, Cheryl and their whole family.”

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