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The Battle For Arizona’s U.S.

Senate Seat Begins Now

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Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, top, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, bottom, will square off in the battle to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl this November.
Richard Carmona Begins His TV Blitz As Jeff Flake Begins To Recover From His Bruising Primary Battle Against Wil Cardon


By John Guzzon
Modern Times Magazine

Aug. 29, 2012 — The dirt has not yet settled on the graves of primary candidates who could not survive the gauntlet of the ballot box, but former Surgeon General Richard Carmona has come out swinging in final showdown for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona.

Carmona, who is also a former member of the U.S. special forces, medical director for the Pima County Sheriff’s office and a professor at the University of Arizona, was appointed Surgeon General by President George W. Bush in 2002. He  was courted by republicans to run for Congressional district No. 8 in 2006 — shortly after his term as Surgeon General ended — but he declined.

In 2011, he announced he would seek the democratic nomination for U.S. Senate from Arizona, which he secured last night as an unopposed candidate.

Through the last seven months or so of campaigning, Carmona has been able to keep the powder dry, travelling and making connections while keeping expenses at a relatively cheap price of a little more than $1.1 million. Flake, on the other hand, spent more than $4 million defeating Wil Cardon.

The result is a race that is setting up to be a knock-down, drag out battle. Most recent polls reveal a basically even race and Carmona has really not even started his campaign yet. They both have about $1.75 million on hand, according to the Federal Election Commission pre-primary report.

Carmona’s campaign finance filing

Flake’s campaign finance filing

With Sen. Jon Kyl not seeking re-election, this race has been marked nationally as one of the races that will determine the majority in the U.S Senate over the next few years. As a consequence, Flake got PAC spending on television which indicates he would have access to some of that ‘help’ if he needs it against Carmona.

For his part, Carmona tried to get out in front of the PAC funding aspect of this race yesterday. Flake has been backed in his primary fight by the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative super-PAC that has spent more than $1 million on the race, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

"So before outside groups descend on Arizona, I am asking you, Congressman, to agree to a pledge banning Super PACS, 501(e) organizations and soft-money 5275 from spending money on radio and television on either behalf during this campaign," according to the letter signed by Carmona.

Earlier in the day, Carmona and Flake released their first ads in the campaign. Both candidates are setting up their family values and validating their records. Carmona, though, kept Flake out of it. Instead, he explained his impressive record. Flake, with less to crow about except being ”conservative,” openly criticized Carmona.

“You know that I don’t stand for divisive politics. I’ve spent my life bringing people together to get results. I don't see things like a politician. As a Special Forces medic in Vietnam, a trauma surgeon, deputy sheriff and businessman, I know there isn't time to argue or position for who gets credit – we have to work together to get things done,” Carmona related in an e-mail yesterday.

Flake, for his part, labeled Carmona as an Obamacrat.

"There couldn't be a starker difference between myself and our opponent in the general election ... Richard Carmona was handpicked by President (Barack) Obama to run here in Arizona," Flake said at his home last night, according to Reuters.

Let the battle begin.

John Guzzon is editor of Modern Times Magazine.
Jeff Flake's first general election ad.
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