Sen. Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeTop Trump aide calls GOP senator a 'hater' Overnight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Senate on the verge of vote to kill FCC's consumer privacy protections MORE (R-Ariz.) is throwing his weight behind Sen. John McCainJohn McCainFortune's 'Greatest Leaders' list includes Samantha Bee, snubs Trump McCain: Nunes's actions 'very disturbing' McCain calls North Korean leader a 'crazy, fat kid' MORE (R-Ariz.), endorsing his home state colleague against any potential primary foes.
Flake also predicted that McCain would win.
"He's always prepared for a challenge and I think he'll be just fine, whatever challenge is out there," Flake told The Hill.
The endorsement could help McCain against a Tea Party challenge. Flake remains popular with Arizona's conservative base despite his split from activists on immigration reform.
Both Reps. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonWestern Republicans seek new federal appeals court Arts groups gear up for fight over NEA What gun groups want from Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) have left the door open to a possible run against the longtime senator and former GOP presidential nominee. And the president of the well-funded Club for Growth said Tuesday that the group might back one of them if they decided to run.
McCain didn't have much to say about the Club's comments, and while he refused to say definitively that he'll run for reelection, he told The Hill an announcement is "not too far away."
"These organizations are free to make their own decisions. I have to make mine. And I guarantee you that if I decide to run, and most likely I will, I'll run a tough, strong campaign, and I'm confident we can win," he said.
McCain said he would "most likely" make a decision sometime in the spring and repeated that he's "most likely to run."
Flake's announcement that he'll back McCain may put him at odds with the Club, one of his biggest benefactors in his own primary win in 2012. But he and McCain have worked closely together since Flake won his seat, helping to craft the bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate last Congress.
This article was updated at 4:35 p.m.