Arizona is one of more than a dozen states where razor-close Senate races will determine the majority in the the next Congress.
Six-term Rep. Jeff Flake is the Republican nominee against Democrat Richard Carmona in the contest to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jon Kyl. Flake says his record on spending, jobs and border security make him the better choice and he adds that Carmona’s dishonesty is on full display in this contest.
When it comes to the economy, Flake says he is the pro-growth candidate while Carmona is nothing more than a rubber stamp for Obamacare and Obama’s proposed tax increases.
“He has pretty much adopted the Obama agenda hook, line and sinker,” said Flake of Carmona. “He said that he’s OK with raising tax rates. Regulation that’s coming down, he has no problem it seems with that. He hasn’t spoken out against any of it.”
Flake is especially critical of Carmona’s support for the Obama health plan, saying it’s the biggest threat to jobs in the country.
“He favored it when it passed. He favored it during this election. He said he will not repeal it,” said Flake. “That is a huge job-killer. I talk to businessmen and businesswomen all the time. I talked to one last Friday (with) 44 employees. He’s going to hire another four but not go beyond that because he can’t hit the 50 threshold (when health penalties kick in for employers). You’re finding that again and again and again.”
When it comes to spending, Flake says he’ll put his record of fiscal discipline up against anyone.
“We need more than ever somebody who is willing to stand up to whichever party is in power and say we’ve got to stop this overspending,” said Flake. “And that’s been my record in the House. I stood up, as it happened, against my own party for a number of years and I was punished for it. But ultimately we got rid of earmarks and that’s a good thing. That’s the kind of commitment we need in the Senate.”
Border security is a major issue in Arizona. Flake’s position on immigration reform has evolved in recent years. He previously embraced a comprehensive solution that addressed border security at the same time as temporary worker programs. Flake now says that was the wrong approach. he says border security must be achieved before dealing with other issues.
“The bottom line is nobody’s going to trust the federal government to move ahead with the other elements, some of which we really need like a temporary worker plan, until we get better border security,” said Flake.
The big squabble in the campaign in the final stretch is over who the two Republican senators in the state want to win this race. Carmona, a former U.S. Surgeon General, has been airing ads showing Senator Kyl and Senator John McCain giving him glowing reviews. Flake says this is the height of dishonesty.
“When Dr. Carmona was nominated for Surgeon General, they did what senators from the state of somebody who’s nominated do,” said Flake. “They testified on his behalf and said good things. What he’s done is taken that footage, ten-year-old footage, and implies – in fact edits it carefully – so it sounds as if they’re endorsing him for the Senate race. As you can imagine (Kyl and McCain) are quite upset about that as well they should be. They have endorsed me for this Senate race. They have not endorsed Dr. Carmona.”
Flake says a new TV ad featuring McCain and Kyl will soon be airing to set the record straight.