While he won the GOP nomination by a health margin, the damage had been done to Flake’s campaign coffers. On the other hand, Richard Carmona, the Democratic Party’s nominee in the race, was able to raise and money because he didn’t have a primary challenger.
Carmona has been largely slamming Flake for being a “career politician,” echoing charges made in the Republican primary. He’s also slammed Flake for allegedly cutting benefits for veterans, which is a misleading claim, and for allegedly being weak on environmental issues. The attacks coupled with Carmona’s claims of being able to work across the aisle with Republicans looked like they were having some affect, that is until Flake’s team rolled out one of the best ads of any race across the country this year.
The ad featured Cristina Beato, who served as Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, recounting an incident during which she, a single mother, was awakened by the sounds of Carmona beating at her front door one night. Beato, who was Carmona’s boss at DHHS, explained in the ad that she was scared for herself and her kids. Looking directly into the camera, Beato says, “Carmona is not who he seems. He has issues with anger, with ethics and with women,” adding that he “should never, ever be in the U.S. Senate.”
Since that ad went on the air, Flake has swung momentum back into this corner and will likely defeat Carmona tomorrow night, according to the latest survey out of Arizona from Public Policy Polling (PPP).
PPP shows Flake leading Carmona, 51/46. Carmona’s favorability rating is slightly underwater, at 40/43, an 11-point drop from the last poll taken in the race by PPP. Flake’s favorables are somewhat better, at 45/43.
PPP explains that Flake’s lead is attributed to Republicans coming home to him after the primary race, noting that only 70% of Republicans were backing him in their last poll compared to 88% backing him now. This is effect that was also seen in recent Rasmussen polling — Flake only pulled 76% of Republicans in late-September, but was taking 82% in October.
Flake is one of the most libertarian-leaning Republicans running this cycle. He was fighting earmarks in the House long before it became the position of the caucus to ban the pernicious practice. Flake will no doubt carry these principled views over to the Senate and continue fighting to protect taxpayers.