Jeff Flake Says He Won’t Run For Re-Election In 2018

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(CBS) — Sen. Jeff Flake abruptly announced Tuesday that will not run for re-election after all in the 2018 midterm elections.

“Here’s the bottom line: The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” Flake told The Arizona Republic newspaper in a phone interview.

“It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”

Flake addressed the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon.

“There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party,” Flake said.

Flake, 54, had been expected to run for re-election, but has been especially critical of President Trump and the Republican Party over the last several months. The president attacked Flake on Twitter and his former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has said he’s backing Kelli Ward, who had launched a primary challenge to Flake. Ward said over the summer that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, should resign from his seat because of his brain cancer diagnosis.

Flake has served in the Senate since 2013 and previously served in the House from 2003 until 2013. He was on the scene during the June 2017 GOP congressional baseball practice shooting that left Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, wounded.