Arizona's Sen. Jeff Flake announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election for 2018 after reports broke regarding his decision.
“I’m announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term, in early January 2019,” Flake said.
Arizona's junior senator made the announcement during a speech on the floor of the Senate Tuesday afternoon.
"I decided I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles," Flake said.
In his nearly 20-minute speech Flake addressed issues, others, including Sen. John McCain have mentioned, in Congress and American politics saying we must not stray from our founding values.
“The anger and resentment people feel…is justified," Flake said. "But anger and resentment is not a governing philosophy.”
Flake continued saying Congress "must have healthy and functioning parties."
"We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared value," he said. "We must argue our positions fervidly and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man. And always look for the good."
12 News talked to candidate Kelli Ward about the announcement:
In a tweet McCain thanked his "dear friend" for his service.
Democratic Congresswoman Krysten Sinema, who announced a run for Flake's seat, released a statement:
It’s been an honor to know and serve with Jeff. He is a man of integrity and a statesman who is true to his convictions – an Arizonan through and through. I wish he and Cheryl and their family the very best.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey also released a statement:
I want to thank Jeff Flake for representing Arizona in the House and Senate for nearly two decades. Jeff was a voice for fiscal responsibility at the federal level before it was popular, and effectively ended the practice of earmarks. I’ve appreciated his friendship, professionalism and intellect on policy issues impacting Arizona. I wish all the best for Jeff, Cheryl and their whole family.
As did the Arizona GOP:
Sen. Jeff Flake’s love of Arizona is obvious whether you’ve known him for decades or for five minutes," AZGOP Chairman Jonathan Lines said. "He is a tried and true Arizonan who has served our state honorably for more than 18 years. He has worked his hardest to make this state a better place for all Arizonans. The Arizona Republican Party thanks him for his service and looks forward to working with him through the end of his term.
While Kelli Ward, who previously announced she was running for Flake's Senate seat, released a statement saying Arizona voters are "big winners."
Arizona voters are the big winner in Jeff Flake's decision to not seek re-election. They deserve a strong conservative in the U.S. Senate who supports President Trump and the 'America First' agenda. Our campaign proudly offers an optimistic path forward for Arizona and America."
Flake concluded his speech by thanking his colleagues and borrowing the words of President Abraham Lincoln.
"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies."
Following his remarks, Flake released the following statement on his decision:
"I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles. To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019."