According to the new PMI data, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who ran against Senator John McCain in the 2016 GOP primary and drew 40% against him, would lead Senator Flake, 30-23%. PMI has been way off before, however. In the 2016 Wisconsin primary that featured Speaker Paul Ryan being challenged by GOP activist Rob Nehlen, PMI released a survey finding only a 43-32% gap between the two candidates. Soon after, Speaker Ryan actually recorded a super landslide re-nomination victory, 84-16%.
While PMI’s former data may have been wildly inaccurate, the fact that other data has foretold a similar story surrounding Senator Flake should be taken seriously. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the GOP incumbent has trouble in his re-nomination battle and we can expect the Democrats to take advantage of the situation.
Negative feelings about Senator Flake erupted during the presidential campaign, when the Senator and then-candidate Donald Trump engaged in several public bouts of verbal fisticuffs. In the end, of course, Trump prevailed and the feud has apparently politically scarred Senator Flake, even though he has been quiet about the President since the election.
The Arizona Senate race is certainly becoming a race to watch.