Poll: GOP vot­ers not set on Ward

Flake’s de­par­ture opens door to a ‘free-for-all’

The Arizona Republic - - Front Page - Dan Now­icki

With in­cum­bent U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake out of the 2018 Se­nate race, Ari­zona Repub­li­can pri­mary vot­ers have not yet set­tled on nom­i­nat­ing his main chal­lenger, for­mer state Sen. Kelli Ward, as his suc­ces­sor.

Polls showed Ward with big leads over the un­pop­u­lar Flake, but now that he’s with­drawn from the race, Repub­li­cans and GOP-lean­ing in­de­pen­dents ap­pear re­cep­tive to an al­ter­na­tive to Ward, who failed in her 2016 pri­mary chal­lenge to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

A new poll of 500 likely pri­ma­ry­elec­tion vot­ers from Higley-based Data Or­bital found 32.38 per­cent were ei­ther def­i­nitely or prob­a­bly vot­ing for Ward, com­pared to 29.21 per­cent who said they were def­i­nitely or prob­a­bly not vot­ing for her.

An­other 33.73 per­cent said it would de­pend on who gets in the race, and 4.68 per­cent re­fused to an­swer.

The poll, a com­bi­na­tion of au­to­mated and live ques­tions con­ducted Thurs­day through Satur­day, has a mar­gin of er­ror of 4.4 per­cent­age points.

“With a lit­tle un­der a year left to go, GOP pri­mary vot­ers are still ex­tremely un­cer­tain about who they will be vot­ing for,” said Ge­orge Kha­laf, the Repub­li­can poll­ster and con­sul­tant who con­ducted the sur­vey.

“Pun­dits dis­agreed about whether Se­na­tor Flake’s an­nounce­ment would hurt or help Ward’s chances and th­ese num­bers seem to prove that his de­par­ture from the race has def­i­nitely hurt her num­bers,” he said in a state­ment.

The Data Or­bital poll, which had a mar­gin of er­ror of plus-or-mi­nus 4.4 per­cent­age points, also tested Ward and other names that have come up as pos­si­ble Repub­li­can Se­nate can­di­dates. It did not in­clude U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, RAriz., who is said to be con­sid­er­ing a pos­si­ble run, or state Trea­surer Jeff DeWit and for­mer Ari­zona GOP chair­man Robert Gra­ham, who have been men­tioned as Flake chal­lengers for months.

Ward, who is an os­teo­pathic doc­tor, was re­cently em­braced by Steve Ban­non, the con­tro­ver­sial for­mer White House strate­gist, as part of his ef­fort to oust the Repub­li­can es­tab­lish­ment. She also has been en­dorsed by na­tional con­ser­va­tive per­son­al­i­ties Sean Han­nity and Laura In­gra­ham.

‘It’s a free-for-all’

With 28 per­cent un­de­cided, Ward led the po­ten­tial pack with 26.4 per­cent, fol­lowed by U.S. Rep. Martha McSally at 18.6 per­cent; for­mer U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon at 10.4 per­cent; U.S. Rep. David Sch­weik­ert at 5.2 per­cent; for­mer U.S. Rep. John Shadegg at 3.9 per­cent; and Ari­zona Board of Re­gents mem­ber Jay Heiler at 1.2 per­cent. The other 6.1 per­cent re­fused to an­swer.

“The take­away is that it’s a free-forall,” Kha­laf told The Ari­zona Re­pub­lic.

Heiler, a well-known fig­ure at the State Capi­tol for years as the for­mer chief of staff to for­mer Gov. Fife Syming­ton and a long­time lob­by­ist, has formed an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee for the Se­nate race. It is chaired by for­mer Gov. Jan Brewer.

The fis­cally con­ser­va­tive Club for Growth PAC, which is in­flu­en­tial in Repub­li­can pri­maries, on Fri­day made it clear that it prefers Salmon over McSally.

In a news re­lease, the club’s pres­i­dent, David McIn­tosh, hailed Salmon as “a proven, prin­ci­pled con­ser­va­tive who has been a re­li­able fighter for eco­nomic free­dom for many years.”

The same day, the Club PAC and other na­tional “tea-party”-aligned groups such as the Se­nate Con­ser­va­tives Fund, Free­domWorks and Ea­gle Fo­rum put out a joint state­ment in op­po­si­tion to the more mod­er­ate McSally, who the groups said “mas­quer­ades as a con­ser­va­tive on the cam­paign trail but time and time again ... has aban­doned con­ser­va­tive prin­ci­ples.”

Flake’s dif­fer­ences with Trump

Flake, a first-term se­na­tor who be­fore that served 12 years in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, rocked the po­lit­i­cal world Tues­day by an­nounc­ing that he would not seek re-elec­tion after all.

Flake ac­knowl­edged that his high­pro­file dif­fer­ences with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on tone and, in some cases, pol­icy — and Trump’s fierce counter-at­tacks — likely doomed his chances in Ari­zona’s Aug. 28 Repub­li­can Se­nate pri­mary.

“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 Re­pub­lic.

“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.”

The Data Or­bital poll re­flects Trump’s strong stand­ing among Ari­zona GOP pri­mary vot­ers: 54 per­cent said they have a strongly fa­vor­able view of the pres­i­dent and an­other 17.2 per­cent said they have a some­what fa­vor­able view of him.

That’s op­posed to 16.2 per­cent who said they had a strongly un­fa­vor­able view of Trump and 5.6 per­cent who said they had a some­what un­fa­vor­able view of him. The rest of the poll’s sam­ple was ei­ther neu­tral, un­de­cided or re­fused to an­swer the Trump ques­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.