"Obama's man in Arizona? Or Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeLive coverage of Trump's inauguration Under Trump, the disruptors return to Washington (that's a good thing) 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for MORE, Arizona's man in Washington?" a voiceover asks.
According to an ad-buying source in Arizona, Flake's new ad will run at 510 points in the Phoenix area and 360 in the Tucson area — half as much as the recent buy launched by Carmona for his ad, "Both," that frames him as a bipartisan reformer committed to fixing the healthcare system. That spot is running at over 1,000 points in Phoenix and 800 in Tucson, according to the source, and the Carmona campaign is running ads on Spanish television and radio — something the Flake campaign hasn't yet begun to do.
That may be in part due to a cash deficit Flake faced coming out of a bruising primary fight against self-funded businessman Wil Cardon. Though Flake has raised nearly twice as much as Cardon so far, he's spent more than three times as much as the Democratic nominee, and at the close of the last reporting period posted slightly less cash on hand than Carmona.
Flake campaign spokesman Andrew Wilder implicitly confirmed the size of the buy but insisted that Carmona was spending more not because of any deficit in funds on the part of the Flake campaign, but rather because he had a tougher task ahead of him to win the election.
"Richard Carmona needs to spend more to try to overcome the clear fact that he’s President Obama’s handpicked recruit in Arizona and he’ll be a rubber stamp for his liberal policies in Washington," he said in an email.
In response, Carmona spokesperson Andy BarrAndy BarrHow we can boost the economy through foreign direct investment Wells Fargo scandal strikes fear into smaller rivals Consumer bureau remains partisan target after Wells Fargo settlement MORE cited Carmona's past as evidence that he's "a lifelong independent."
"Dr. Carmona served as Surgeon General of the United States under George W. Bush. Jon Kyl tried to get him to run for Congress. He's a lifelong independent, and nobody's rubber stamp," he said in an email.
The Hill rates this race as "leans Republican," and most recent polls give Flake a lead over Carmona, but Democrats have high hopes for a candidate hand-picked by Obama.
Watch the ad: