Sen. John McCain threw his support behind Rep. Jeff Flake, who is running to join McCain in the Senate next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Jeff Flake got about as big of a boost as one can get in Arizona Republican politics. In Phoenix today, GOP Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain endorsed the six-term Congressman, who finds himself in an unexpectedly competitive primary in his bid for Senate.
Kyl, the retiring Senate Minority Whip whose seat Flake is seeking, has particular credibility with Arizona conservatives and his endorsement could be helpful. McCain’s backing could also be useful — he easily won re-election in 2010 after trouncing former Rep. J.D. Hayworth in the GOP primary.
“It’s been a tremendous honor serving Arizona in the United States Senate. It’s important to me that my successor listen to the citizens of Arizona and work hard on their behalf,” Kyl said in a statement. “My choice is Jeff Flake. Jeff is an honest, thoughtful conservative, and he’s already proven that he is an effective reformer. Jeff will fight for what’s right.”
“It’s not easy for one man to make a difference in Washington, but Jeff Flake has,” McCain added. “Jeff stood up to congressional leaders in the House when they were spending too much. They tried to punish and silence him, but Jeff Flake persisted. Eventually, they came around to his way of thinking, and there are no more earmarks in Congress.”