Flake-out: RINO's feud with Trump could spell conservative win

UNITED STATES- JULY 13 Sen. Jeff Flake R-Ariz. talks with reporters in the Capitol after a meeting where Senate Republicans' unveiled and updated health care bill

Tom Williams CQPHO

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., talks with reporters in the Capitol after a meeting on the health care bill on July 13, 2017.

President Donald Trump and some of his staff members reportedly have spoken with potential primary challengers to U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (Arizona), Politico reported Monday.

Trump has reportedly spoken at least twice since taking office with Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, a top official on his 2016 campaign who is thinking about running for the Senate race. DeWit and Graham are both exploring campaigns, while Ward has already announced her candidacy. Flake has consistently voiced doubt as to whether the president can achieve his top legislative priorities like repealing Obamacare or constructing a wall on the southern border.

Flake, who was an outspoken critic of Trump in 2016, is up for a second term next year.

A spokesman for Flake noted to Politico that Flake had "voted with President Trump over 95 percent of the time this year" and backed some of Trump's biggest goals, such as Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch's confirmation.

At a Republican National Committee meeting outside of San Diego in May, David Bossie, Trump's deputy campaign manager and the president of the influential conservative outside group Citizens United, told Graham that either he or DeWit would likely get substantial backing from conservatives should either enter the contest, according to three people familiar with the conversation. Last fall, Trump supposedly considered spending $10 million of his own money to defeat Flake.

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