Pro-Trump super PAC spends $20,000 for Flake opponent

Pro-Trump super PAC spends $20,000 for Flake opponent
© Greg Nash

A prominent pro-Trump super PAC has stepped into the Arizona Senate primary race by spending $20,000 on the campaign of Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump readies for Putin summit: 'He’s not my enemy’ Overnight Defense: Fallout from tense NATO summit | Senators push to block ZTE deal in defense bill | Blackwater founder makes new pitch for mercenaries to run Afghan war On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Lawmakers demand answers from Mnuchin on tariffs | Fed chief lays out stakes of Trump trade war | Consumer prices rise at highest rate in six years | Feds to appeal AT&T merger ruling MORE's (R-Ariz.) GOP opponent Kelli Ward, who has positioned herself as a staunch ally of President Trump.

The payment marks Great America PAC's first independent expenditure on behalf of a candidate other than Trump in months, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The last candidate was Greg Gianforte, a Montana Republican who was elected to the House in May.

The bitter primary between Flake and Ward has become increasingly heated amid a feud between Trump and Flake. The GOP senator has been a prime target for Trump, who criticized him again on Wednesday as "weak" on crime and borders.

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Flake, meanwhile, has emerged as one of Trump's most vocal Republican critics, prompting increasing barbs from the president.

Trump slammed Flake last week and appeared to endorse Ward, a former Arizona state senator, in a tweet, calling the GOP senator "toxic."

"Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate," Trump wrote. "He's toxic!"

Trump also took a swipe at Flake and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate Dems tell Trump: Don't meet with Putin one-on-one McConnell: Senate to confirm Kavanaugh by Oct. 1 Overnight Defense: Fears rise over Trump-Putin summit | McCain presses Trump to hold Putin 'accountable' for hacking | Pentagon does damage control after NATO meet MORE (R), Arizona's senior senator, during a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, though he stopped short of calling either lawmaker out by name.

“One vote away, and I will not mention any names. Very presidential, isn't it?” Trump said, a reference to McCain's vote against a pared-down measure to repeal the Affordable Care Act that narrowly failed in the Senate last month.

“And nobody wants me to talk about your other senator, who’s weak on borders, weak on crime, so I won’t talk about him," Trump said of Flake. "Nobody wants me to talk about him. Nobody knows who the hell he is.”

While the pro-Trump group has spent on behalf of Ward, a super PAC allied with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKavanaugh gets questionnaires for confirmation hearing Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick Franken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' MORE (R-Ky.) blasted Flake's primary opponent with an ad this week, painting her as a conspiracy theorist amid fears Trump may endorse her over the incumbent Republican.