The Hill’s 50 races to watch


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Arizona Senate

Richard Carmona (D) vs. Jeff Flake (R)

What was once considered a sure win for Republicans is now a solid toss-up as Democrat Richard Carmona posts a strong challenge to Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

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Although Flake’s main attack has focused on tying Carmona to President Obama, who has lagged behind Mitt Romney in the state, Carmona has outperformed the president, keeping Flake’s lead to single digits and, in the most recent survey, jumping slightly ahead. 

That’s led Flake and Republicans to shift gears, recently launching attacks focused on Carmona’s investments in tobacco companies and his time as CEO of Pima County’s healthcare system — a position from which he resigned after the system continued to incur millions of dollars of debt under his watch. Flake also released a hard-hitting ad last week featuring Carmona’s former boss talking about Carmona’s temperament toward women.

Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general under George W. Bush and a Vietnam War vet, has targeted Flake’s record on women’s and veterans’s issues, and frequently charges that Flake’s policies will do away with Medicare. 

Both the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have jumped into the fray, investing more than $1.5 million and $550,000, respectively, into the race.

The Hill rates this race as a toss-up.

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