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Robert Graham Seriously Entertaining US Senate Run

Posted by on | July 22, 2017 | No Comments

Former State Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party continues to fuel speculation that he will run for the US Senate in 2018.

In an interview with Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition, Graham told listeners, “it’s definitely not in the immediate plans…”

RobertGraham Robert Graham Seriously Entertaining US Senate Run

Robert Graham

Graham then went on to criticize Senator Jeff Flake over his “stiff opposition” during the presidential campaign and now Flake being “openly against a lot of his [Donald Trump] agenda items.”

Robert Graham did stop short of acknowledging he will challenge Jeff Flake in the 2018 Republican Primary.

What gives this interview and potential Graham candidacy credibility is that it took place on a national radio show.

Timing is everything of course.

The recent announcement by Senator John McCain that he has a serious and aggressive form of brain cancer has already begun to create tremors across Arizona’s political landscape in anticipation of major seismic activity. An early retirement by Senator John McCain could lead to the appointment of his Republican replacement by Governor Doug Ducey. And that appointment could go off with a major shift in Arizona’s political tectonic plates.

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Jeff Flake

Or not.

Governor Ducey could resign and cut a deal with his replacement Michele Reagan to have her appoint him to the position – an unlikely move.

Ducey could also appoint a sitting Republican congressman like David Schweikert (in a safe Republican district) or Martha McSally who may be defeated in 2018 (given the liberal demographics and volatility of CD-2). Either type of an appointment would result in a torrent of state senators, representatives or city officials released to fill that vacancy.

Perhaps the least tumultuous move could be the appointment of someone like Robert Graham.

Graham, who would have to run for the seat in 2018 alongside the other senate primary, would have the advantage of incumbency, an arsenal of Republican donors at his disposal and perhaps most importantly, the endorsement of President Donald Trump.

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John McCain (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

A Graham appointment also avoids a nasty Republican primary between Graham and Flake who have been political allies. Graham understands the formidability of the Flake machine and avoids that altogether in a parallel campaign.

That takes us back to the interview on NPR. Graham was very careful not to time stamp his answers. No one knows what Senator John McCain will do. Medical treatment takes time and the outcomes may give the senior senator more time to serve.

One thing is certain; Arizona political insiders are in uncharted waters in this political scenario because it has never happened with a US Senate seat here in Arizona.

Finally and most importantly, I want to offer my prayers to Senator John McCain and his family as he takes on another very tough battle. I wish him strength, courage and peace in the months and years ahead.

Non sibi sed patriae, Senator McCain.

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