Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) will not seek re-election, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.
Flake told the newspaper that he will drop out of the race due to the “current Republican climate.”:
“There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party.”
Flake added that 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. It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on issues such as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”
President Trump has repeatedly taken aim at Flake for his stance on immigration and mulled endorsing Kelli Ward to primary Flake during a rally in August.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has said that he wants to primary every incumbent Republican senator in the lead up to the 2018 midterm elections.
Bannon previously hinted that Flake would not seek re-election saying if he “doesn’t get a better poll in the next 30 days, you’re going to see him step down or the establishment is going to make him.”
Flake was scheduled to formally announce his intentions to withdraw from the race in a Senate Floor speech. According to an excerpt in The Arizona Republic, Flake plans to slam the “coarseness of our national dialogue.”:
“We must never regard as ‘normal’ the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country — the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve. None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal.”