Pro-Trump super PAC spends $20,000 for Flake opponent
A prominent pro-Trump super PAC has stepped into the Arizona Senate primary race by spending $20,000 on the campaign of Sen. Jeff Flake’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.
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 McCain (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 McConnell (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.