Sen. Jeff Flake’s new book defends Reagan-style conservatism and critiques the Republican Party. Gov. Doug Ducey plays a role in Sen. John McCain’s health-care vote. U.S. Rep. Martha McSally helps craft a bipartisan plan for the insurance system.
Thomas Hawthorne/The Republic
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The Republic’s political team on July 26, 2017, talks about Sen. John McCain’s dramatic health-bill appearance, the ALEC conference and the saga of Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle.
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In the July 19 episode, the Republic’s politics team talks about Sen. McCain’s health scare and the health care bill that wasn’t, Rep. Martha McSally’s big spending, and what’s to become of the school voucher petition. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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In this week’s episode, reporters Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Dan Nowicki and Rob Hansen discuss the health-care bill, and how it might affect Arizonans, along with the state’s school-voucher program. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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The Republic’s political team discusses Arizona’s congress support of President Trump’s agenda, the disconnect between foster families and the Department of Child Safety and a recent request for voter information. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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Our weekly politics podcast gives you inside-the-newsroom conversation you can’t get anywhere else. This week, a special edition examines the politics of education in Arizona, and our exclusive report on the state’s teacher shortage.
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The Republic’s political team on June 13, 2017, talks about a secret recording, a comparative decline in the quality of Arizona kids’ lives and Governor Ducey’s stance on trade with Mexico. Johanna Huckeba/azcentral.com
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The Republic’s political team on April 25, 2017, talks state Sen. Steve Farley jumping into the governor’s race, Arizona’s hopes for infrastructure funding and the state of the state under acting governor Diane Douglas. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses on May 30, 2017, the scandal involving a former corporation commissioner, whether or not to renew an AUMF and much ado about county recorders.
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses the ongoing McCain/Trump feud, Gov. Ducey’s veto pen on recent legislation and drama in Phoenix City Hall.
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team talks about unfinished business, potholes and an avalanche of unwanted shoes. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team looks back wistfully, maybe even sentimentally, “on the session that was,” and looks forward hopefully to sine die. Hannah Gaber/azcentral.com
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The Arizona Republic’s politics team discusses teachers’ “boat parade,” a protest for pay raises; the upcoming state budget; and what’s up with Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.
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The Republic’s political team on April 25, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the protests surrounding the future of school vouchers and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s donation controversy.
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The Republic’s political team on April 18, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including 2018 candidates, Sen. Jeff Flake’s town hall and how a bill to require child-welfare officials to get warrants fell apart.
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The Republic’s political team on April 11, 2017, talks about “zombie” health care reform in Congress, and the expansion of the school voucher program headed by Gov. Doug Ducey.
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The Republic’s political team on April 4, 2017, talks about the state of the filibuster and the latest on Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s “Show Me the Money” campaign.
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The Republic’s political team on March 28, 2017, talks about funding for teacher raises in the state budget, what comes next after the non-vote on the ‘Obamacare’ repeal bill in Congress and proposed restrictions on citizen initiatives in Arizona.
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The Republic’s political team on March 21, 2017, talks about the possible impact on the president’s blueprint for a budget, and the lack of female representation in Arizona’s legislative leadership.
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The Republic’s political team on March 14, 2017, talks about how much of Arizona’s delegation has been quiet about the “Obamacare” replacement, but even Republicans don’t seem to like it.
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The Republic’s political team on March 8, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including a failed tax-cut bill, a congressman’s tweets and how a former state senator isn’t working at the White House after all.
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The Republic’s political team on March 1, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including the state of Senate Bill 1142 and the rowdy crowds at U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s Town Hall.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 21, 2017, talks about recent political news, including Trump’s Arizona announcement about Intel, McCain and Obamacare, and House Bill 2404 targeting voter initiatives.
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The Republic’s political team on Feb. 6, 2017, talks about the latest political news affecting Arizona, including how much debt is too much for the state and which lawmaker wants to be shot.
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The Gaggle: Flake’s new book, health care and bipartiship
The Gaggle: McCain’s return to the Senate and more
The Gaggle: School voucher petition, health care and McSally
The Gaggle: Health bill, school-voucher program
The Gaggle: Foster families, Trump’s agenda and voter information
The Gaggle: Arizona’s Teacher Shortage
The Gaggle: A Secret Recording, Mexico Trade and Kids’ Health
The Gaggle: The governor’s race and infrastructure funding
The Gaggle: Corporation Commission scandal and renewing an AUMF
The Gaggle: McCain Trump feud, Ducey’s veto pen and Phoenix city hall
The Gaggle: Unfinished business and hallway laments
The Gaggle: Legislative session recap, May 2017
The Gaggle: Teachers protesting, a budget afoot and what’s up with Stanton?
The Gaggle: Voucher vote, Arizona university funding
The Gaggle: DCS warrants and Flake gets scorched
The Gaggle: Health care in Congress and school voucher expansion
The Gaggle: Is the filibuster busted and will Michele Reagan show us the money?
The Gaggle: Teacher raises, ACA repeal and ballot initiatives
The Gaggle: Federal budget and few women in the Legislature
The Gaggle: Obamacare replacement, George W. in town and TANF benefits
The Gaggle: Tax that did not get cut, tweets from Gosar and a non-job
The Gaggle: SB 1142 is dead and town halls get rowdy
The Gaggle: Bigfooted, McCain and HB 2404
The Gaggle: How much debt is too much?
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema says she is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Jeff Flake, but there are ample signs she has already decided to do so.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has had discussions with both Sinema, D-Ariz., and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, who’s widely viewed as another possible Democratic Senate candidate, about who will challenge Flake in 2018.
The powerful Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, meanwhile, has indicated it is supporting Sinema in the race, according to a source familiar with those discussions but who isn’t authorized to speak officially about Democratic strategy. That decision would not typically be made unless Sinema intended to run.
In a statement Friday, Sinema, who is traveling outside the state, sidestepped giving a definitive answer.
“I’ve heard from many Arizonans encouraging me to run for the United States Senate. It is something I am seriously considering. When I make any decisions, Arizonans will be the first to know,” said Sinema, a three-term congresswoman.
The statement is a departure from her usual message: that she is running for re-election.
Stanton has weighed running for Senate or for Sinema’s U.S. House seat, if she runs for the Senate. He recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the DSCC, but declined to comment about his political plans.
Republicans also expect Sinema to enter the Senate race, releasing a statement Friday about their improved chances in her district.
“The (National Republican Congressional Campaign) not only believes this seat is in play, but is a prime pickup opportunity in 2018,” said Matt Gorman, a spokesman for the organization.
Her entry in the Senate race would break a mounting political log jam for Arizona Democrats sizing up their prospects for 2018.
Steve Ferrara, a Republican radiologist who worked in the VA, is already running in Sinema’s district and raised more than $200,000 in his first month in the race.
Democrats see opportunity
A Sinema Senate run would test the statewide appeal of her self-styled centrist, cooperative politics against Flake, who promises a brand of conservatism sometimes at odds with President Donald Trump and others in the Republican party.
Sinema has represented the state’s 9th Congressional District since the seat was created with the 2012 elections. She is a prolific fundraiser who obsessively casts herself as a problem-solver looking to get things done in Washington.
Arizona’s Senate race has drawn national attention, in part because it represents one of the few plausible seats Democrats could win from Republicans next year. Twenty-five of the 34 Senate seats on the ballot in 2018 are currently held by Democrats, limiting that party’s prospects for retaking control of the upper chamber.
Nevada’s Sen. Dean Heller is the only Republican facing re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton won last year. Flake, who is in his first term, is widely seen as the next-most vulnerable Republican senator.
Flake is already battling former state Sen. Kelli Ward for the GOP nomination next year.
Several polls have shown voters give Flake poor marks, and Trump has threatened to help finance a primary challenger, though it is unclear if he will follow through.
Still, only political novice Deedra Abboud has formally entered the race for the Democrats.
Randy Friese, a state representative from Tucson, has been considering a run for the U.S. Senate as well. Little-known Richard Sherzan of Mesa, a former Iowa legislator who made a short-lived 2016 Senate run that ended more than a year before the Democratic primary, also says he’s running.
Sinema has made veterans’ care a focus of her tenure in Congress and burnished her reputation for working across the aisle. At the same time, no one considers the VA hospital system in Phoenix free of the problems that have plagued it for years.
Matchup of unconventional partisans?
In some ways, Sinema and Flake are battling images as traitors to purists in their party that is at odds with their voting record under the Trump administration.
Both declined to support their party’s presidential nominee last year, and both have provided grist for critics of their parties.
Sinema, for example, has supported Trump’s position 46 percent of the time in key votes this year, according to FiveThirtyEight. Her tough-on-crime positions have at times put her at odds with Democrats who characterize some GOP efforts as demonizing illegal immigrants.
But in the most important vote in the House so far this year, Sinema voted against the Republican-led health-care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, along with every Democrat in the country.
Flake’s stylistic and ideological critique of Trump, and his support for immigration reform have earned him scorn within the right flank of his party.
But Flake voted for all three major versions of the GOP health-care plans that failed in the Senate and has voted to confirm every one of Trump’s nominees, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Sinema’s congressional website, like her wardrobe, is anchored in purple, a signal that she wants the public to see her as looking beyond the usual red or blue partisan playbook.
She considered a Senate run in 2016 against Sen. John McCain, only to see then-U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick jump in that race for Democrats.
Sinema’s deliberations this year may have been complicated by an April controversy over donations she had received from executives who founded Backpage.com. Authorities allege the website’s operators knowingly accepted ads offering sex with underage girls.
After the contributions were identified by The Arizona Republic, Sinema stumbled in her efforts to unload the money, which totaled $53,000 from all sources connected to Backpage.
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence accepted the money after at least one other non-profit rejected it. Sinema vowed to better vet campaign contributions in the future.
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