President Trump’s visit to Arizona is already fraught with controversy. The mayor of Phoenix asked the president to hold off staging a campaign rally in his city following the recent violence in Charlottesville, Va. Then, there are the hints Trump has dropped that he might issue a controversial pardon for the former local Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was recently convicted of criminal contempt of court for disobeying a federal judge.
Last but not least, Trump may step further into next year’s Arizona Senate race by further tormenting one of his most outspoken Republican critics, the state’s junior U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, and potentially upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Senate.
At a recent meeting in Mesa, a conservative suburb east of Phoenix, more than 70 GOP grassroots leaders gathered to discuss party business. Even though Flake has a home in Mesa and used to represent the area in the U.S. House, many of the Republican activists present expressed disgust for Flake, who’s serving his first term in the Senate and is up for re-election in 2018.
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