Jeff Flake: We Can All Agree We Need Secure Borders

Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake recently posted the following opinion piece on Medium.

We can all agree — the President, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, and people all across the country — that we need secure borders. I also agree with the president that having a secure southern border requires physical barriers. The question is: what type of physical barriers are best? And how can technology and surveillance fill the void when physical barriers are not feasible?

I’ve been working on this issue with some of my colleagues for years. The bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 (which I helped author) provided for 700 miles of fencing, including “double fencing” in some areas. This was in addition to doubling the number of border patrol agents from 20,000 to 40,000 as well as providing a host of other technological and border infrastructure improvements and significant additional resources to prosecute illegal border crossers.

Throughout the campaign, President Trump spoke extensively of “building a wall” along the southern border and his first budget asked for funding for “bricks and mortar” for a wall. I understand what he’s trying to accomplish, but there are there better ways to secure the border than a “brick and mortar” wall.

The closest thing we have had to a “wall” along the southern border were the surplus Vietnam War-era “landing mats” that are turned upward and placed end-to-end through some of the border communities. Because border patrol agents couldn’t see what was happening on the other side of the wall, rocks were often thrown over them, causing injury to agents and damage to border patrol vehicles. Consequently, these walls have largely been replaced with fencing.

It’s important to understand what sort of fencing we are talking about. It’s not a short chainlinked fence or a barb-wired fence you’d see on a ranch. We’re talking about a solid steel structure that often rises 20 feet above the ground but has narrow gaps allowing border patrols agents to see through to the other side.

I was pleased that during his visit to Arizona this week, President Trump traveled to the border community of Yuma, where “landing mat” walls have been replaced with fences, to great effect. I would invite the President to visit other stretches of the border in Arizona where walls have been replaced by fences in border communities. I should note that in some remote, mountainous areas, even border fences aren’t feasible because of the landscape. In these spaces, sensors, camera towers, and drone surveillance can help fill the void.

There are other issues with border walls. For example, the San Pedro watershed near the town of Naco in southern Arizona empties northward across the border into Arizona. A brick and mortar border wall would be either be breached during the monsoon season, or it would flood border communities on the Mexican side of the border. Even the current border fences in that region need storm gates to allow debris to escape northward through the border fence after a good rainstorm.

If the “border wall” is simply a metaphor for increased border security, which includes a mix of fencing, sensors, towers and drone surveillance, I strongly support the President. Arizonans have been working on this issue for years, and the downward trend in illegal border crossings over the past few years has been encouraging (owing both to better border security and an improving economy in countries south of our border).

But an actual brick and mortar border wall is not the most effective or efficient way to secure our border and keep Arizona safe.

Poll: Jeff Flake in Double Jeopardy

High Ground

US Senator Jeff Flake in Double Electoral Jeopardy Twelve Months Away from Primary Election

Republican Party Divided – Provides Opening for Democrats

PHOENIX (August 22, 2017) — A statewide Arizona survey of 400 likely Arizona 2018 General Election voters shows Republican incumbent Senator Jeff Flake twelve points behind his primary Republican opponent Kelli Ward and eight points behind prospective Democratic opponent U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ-9).

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

The Republican Primary Election sample was of 273 high efficacy Republican and PND/Independent voters and has a margin of error of ±5.93%.  The General Election sample of 400 high efficacy general election voters has a margin of error of ±4.88%.

Jeff Flake

Senator Jeff Flake

“While Election Day may still be more than a year away, Senator Jeff Flake’s campaign has a lot of work to do to persuade Republican primary voters that his form of principled Republican conservatism can trump the nativist populism that is fueling Republican voters’ antipathy towards Washington insiders.  These same Republicans still give the President a 74% approval rating in Arizona,” said Chuck Coughlin, President & CEO of HighGround Public Affairs, which conducted the poll.

“The good news for Senator Flake’s campaign is that the election is still a year away and his campaign has the financial support to more clearly articulate his own views and define his opponent’s positions.  Additionally, efforts to pass tax reform, infrastructure investment and other major policy initiatives could substantially change the electoral environment in Arizona,” said Coughlin.

The survey showed that Congresswoman Sinema is not known by 45% of the electorate in Arizona while Ward was beaten by nearly 100,000 votes in her primary election against Senator John McCain in 2016.

Coughlin continued, “Kelli Ward may not be well-known in light of her campaign against Senator McCain in 2016.  But even tacit support from the President, with subsequent staffing and financial resources, would be a huge boost for her chances.”

Additionally, General Election turnout in off-Presidential Cycle races in Arizona shows that Republicans historically have a twelve-point turnout advantage, which steepens the climb for any Democratic contender.

“The data clearly shows that a contentious primary fight would certainly strengthen the chances of the Democrats to pick up the seat in November of next year.  There is an opportunity for Congresswoman Sinema to take advantage of the uncertainty on the Republican side by jumping into the Senate race,” Coughlin remarked. “The question for the General Election comes down to if Congresswoman Sinema will be able to define herself first to an electorate that is largely unfamiliar with her, or if Republican third-party groups can define her in ways unacceptable to Arizona’s General Electorate.”

The survey showed that Sinema enjoys a 51% approval rating among voters in her Congressional district which is largely within the cities of Phoenix and Tempe, which are more progressive, urban areas of the State.

Although a 14-point margin is a sizeable gap for Senator Flake, Arizona is known for its volatility when it comes to statewide races. Politicos such as Governors Fife Symington and Jan Brewer have been able to successfully rally from greater margins in shorter periods of time.

Coughlin stated, “It may look dire now, but we must remember a poll is a snapshot in time.”

“Even today, the Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) began to remind voters that Kelli Ward is not a serious thinker when it comes to the issues confronting our country.  I would expect third-party groups like the SLF and dark money groups like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth to come to the Senator’s aid and tout his conservative credentials,” concluded Coughlin. “The Senator is in for the fight of his life and things will only get more difficult if the President Trump continues to pick intraparty fights.”

The audience tested in the statewide live caller survey was set to reflect the 2018 General Election in Arizona.

About the Survey

The poll surveyed 400 likely Arizona 2018 general election voters who have a history of electoral participation and was balanced to model the likely turnout of voters across party, age, region, and gender.  The live interview survey of voters was conducted by HighGround Public Affairs to both landline and cell phone users.  Anticipated turnout for the Arizona 2018 General Election has a partisan gap of Republican +12%.

Next, please tell me if you approve or disapprove of the job the following persons or groups are doing:

Q.        If the primary election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kelli Ward?
[N = 273]

28.2%  Jeff Flake
42.5%  Kelli Ward
5.1%    Some other candidate
24.2%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Jeff Flake or Kyrsten Sinema?

32.5%  Jeff Flake
40.5%  Kyrsten Sinema
27.0%  Don’t know, Refused

Q.        If the General Election for United States Senate were held today, would you vote for [Rotate] Kelli Ward or Kyrsten Sinema?

30.5%  Kelli Ward
31.8%  Kyrsten Sinema
37.8%  Don’t know, Refused

The survey was conducted on August 18-19th and the margin of error of the survey is ±4.88% with 95% confidence.  The HighGround team has built a reputation of reliable and accurate polling over the past ten years – our research has been featured on Nate Silver’s 538, Real Clear Politics, Huffington Post, and many other publications. Last year, HighGround “nailed” the Prop 123 election results within 0.2% of the outcome prior to the May 2016 Special election. Clients and surveys conducted by HighGround include League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Restoring Arizona, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association, Education Health and Safety Coalition, local school districts, and various candidate campaigns.  Visit our website to learn more about HighGround’s polling experience.

Survey Demographics

Age Group:

10.8%    20 to 29
15.3%    30 to 39
19.7%    40 to 49
29.5%    50 to 64
24.7%    65 Plus

Sex:

48.0%    Male
52.0%    Female

Party:

44.2%    Republican
31.8%    Democrat
15.0%    PND
9.0%      Independent/Other

Congressional District:

11.0%    CD1
14.3%    CD2
7.0%      CD3
11.0%    CD4
12.3%    CD5
13.7%    CD6
6.0%      CD7
13.0%    CD8
11.7%    CD9

Bannon Out, Blames Establishment, Prepares For ‘War’

Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Depending on your source, Steve Bannon was fired, resigned or was forced out of his senior White House adviser position on Friday.

In his departure, Bannon made a statement stating the Trump Presidency was essentially over blaming “the Establishment” for the President’s failure.

With his departure, he met with billionaire Bob Mercer of New York to strategize how best to use Mercer’s money to go to war against “the establishment.”

Mercer recently donated $300,000 to a political action committee supporting Kelli Ward. Those political ads are already airing in Arizona attacking Senator Jeff Flake and blaming John McCain for the failure to repeal Obamacare.

Bannon has already returned to Breitbart headquarters to marshall forces for the “WAR” effort against establishment Republicans.

Expect those efforts to target Jeff Flake and John McCain here in Arizona.

Bannon is one of several high-level Trump staffers to depart the White House in less than a year.

Fightin’ Words!

Gary Kiehne

Gary Kiehne

Even without a calendar, you’d know it’s election time by the sudden reappearance of Senator Jeff Flake within the state’s borders and on television.

His handlers have clearly decided the way to sell Flake to Arizona as a conservative is to rebrand him as Senator Barry Goldwater, even brazenly stealing the title of Goldwater’s iconic book, The Conscience of a Conservative.

But Flake is no Goldwater.

When Flake refers to Arizonans as “nativists” and “protectionists” because we believe in sane immigration and trade policies, he is using “fightin’ words”!

What is wrong with calling illegal immigrants, illegal immigrants?  What is wrong with basing our immigration policies on what is best for America, rather than what is best for the Third World’s impoverished masses that want to come here?  (Some seeking paradise and a brighter future, others a government handout, and sadly some who would do us harm.)

What is wrong with advocating America-first trade policies, rather than tolerating one-sided trade deals that suck money out of our economy and yank jobs from our shores?  Is it really “protectionist” to show spine when advocating for the people whose interests you are elected to represent?

The late Senator Barry Goldwater was not a “globalist.”  He was an America-first patriot.

In his new book, Flake says, “if we’re going to be a governing party in the future, and a majority party” we need to change our approach (to his own brand of Republicanism.)  I might point out to the Senator that we already are the majority party now!  As an unofficial member of the Senate’s “Surrender Caucus,” he has become so accustomed to surrendering before a battle is fought that he should probably be forgiven for not recognizing we hold the majority, and acting accordingly.  And when he does pick a battle it is within his own party, namely with President Trump.  As a member of the Senate’s “Gang of Eight” he honestly believed that if we gave the Democrats everything they wanted up-front in the reviled immigration bill, the Democrats would honor their word to give Republicans everything we wanted later.  Much later.  Really, Jeff?  If you really believed that, I have some Ocean Front Property I’m dying to sell you.   Senator, show me when that has happened in the last 70 years?

Barry Goldwater was a courageous fighter, statesman, and patriot who was not afraid to stand alone and sound a warning bell about the dangers of encroaching socialism.

Unlike Jeff Flake, Barry Goldwater didn’t promote compromising our foundational American principles.  Jeff Flake seems to think “we are at our best” when we compromise “across the aisle” to surrender our principles gradually, giving America away in bite-sized pieces.  When Flake suggests it is possible to find healthy “common ground” with Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi, he may as well suggest healthy cells grow through “compromise” with cancer cells.  Government-dictated socialism cannot co-exist with free-society capitalism any more than cancer cells can co-exist with healthy cells.

Today’s national Democratic Party is no longer the party of John Kennedy.  It’s the party of extremists like Bernie Sanders, and others even more radical than he.  Today’s Democrats promote a virulent strain of socialist cancer…and what is at stake today is nothing less than America’s survival as a prosperous, free Republic based on individual liberties enshrined in our constitution…or, it’s continued descent into becoming a failed, bankrupt, socialist regime like Venezuela or Cuba.

Fortunately, we still have a way of self-correcting our course in America.  It’s called an election.

A recent survey found that Senator Flake was ranked the third most unpopular man in the U.S. Senate behind only Senator Mitch “Surrender” McConnell, and our other Arizona Senator, John McCain.  It’s undoubtedly for good reason.

Hopefully, Arizonans will remember the actions of Senator Flake in the five years he has been absent from Arizona, rather than buy the re-branded, newly-packaged “Goldwater Conservative” his handlers are selling us now.

Goldwater’s undoubtedly rolling over in his grave.

By Gary Kiehne, a former Arizona candidate for U.S. Congress, business owner, rancher, Trump supporter and unabashed Barry Goldwater supporter.

Jeff Flake Releases New Ad

Senator Jeff Flake released a political ad on Thursday touting his longstanding consistent conservative credentials.

In the ad, he references Vice President Mike Pence who arrived in Congress at the same time as Flake.

Both freshmen congressmen were ready to take on the establishment but also willing to speak out against their own party’s addition to bigger government and more spending.

The ad is a clip from an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer in which Flake calls out those in the Republican Party who have lost their way and continue the trajectory of more government.

Robert Graham Seriously Entertaining US Senate Run

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…”

Robert Graham

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.

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.

John McCain

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.

Frosty’s Democrat Talking Points

By Ella Gent

Last week, we wrote about Frosty Taylor’s so-called “Republican Briefs.” As we pointed out at the time, Frosty is less interested in “News and Updates,” as her website claims, and more interested in vile gossip, attacks on Republicans, and outright lies.

However, despite spending the vast majority of her time demonizing and attacking fellow Republicans, Frosty has never overtly supported Democrats or their talking points. That is, until Sunday morning’s post.

Sunday, Frosty gave voice to a left-wing Arizona Democratic Party e-mail that attacked Senator Flake. Since Frosty is not a real journalist she just believed the worst and added her voice to the attack. Frosty’s fake news never does any real research. Or she would have known that she was attacking ALL of the Republicans in the Arizona delegation!

It is understandable why Democrats would attack Senator Flake. He has supported each and every one of President Trump’s nominees. He’s pledged to do whatever it takes to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court. His voting record on conservative issues is always among the highest in the Senate. Of course Democrats would like to see him defeated.

Indeed, what’s confusing is why a self-described “Republican” would amplify the attacks on Senator Flake from the Arizona Democrats. Using wildly out of context “facts” and twisting a recent vote to imply wrongdoing, Frosty and her friends at the Arizona Democrat Party are doing all they can to defeat Senator Flake.

To be clear, the Senator’s vote was to roll back an 11th-hour Obama regulation that the entire Republican delegation felt was the right thing to do. Without question, Congress will take up the matter of internet privacy over the next few months, but in the meantime, stopping a regulatory end-run by the Obama Administration should be applauded, not attacked…and certainly not attacked in a “Republican” newsletter by using Democrat talking points.

Frosty, of course, fails to mention that every single member of the Arizona Republican Congressional delegation voted the same way that Senator Flake voted. Voting with Trent Franks, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, and others isn’t party of Frosty’s #fakenews agenda. She fails to provide the other side of the argument. She just attacks…and uses Democrats to carry her message. At best she is dishonest, at worst she simply didn’t do any real research.

Frosty Taylor is welcomed to submit a response to this guest opinion.

Sen. Jeff Flake Stands Up for Arizona’s Consumers and Businesses

Takes to the Senate Floor to Raise Concerns with Border Adjustment Tax

Phoenix, AZ – Today, Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of nearly 200 businesses, local organizations, and trade associations united to stop the Border Adjustment Tax or BAT, and its resulting increased prices on everyday necessities, thanked Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for speaking out on the U.S. Senate floor to raise his concerns with the BAT.

The Border Adjustment Tax is a provision of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) tax reform plan, which, if enacted, would levy a 20 percent tax on imported goods.

During the floor speech, Senator Flake expressed his worry that BAT “could make everyday consumer products more expensive at the very places that middle-class families shop the most…[and] household staples could be pushed out of reach for those who can least afford it.” He went on to say that he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues on tax reform, “but we ought to make sure that the middle class isn’t in the losing column.”

“Senator Flake’s stout defense of Arizona’s businesses and consumers earlier today cannot be lauded enough,” said John Arterburn, owner of Ace Hardware in Pinnacle Peak. “A 20 percent tax on imported products could threaten the viability of my business, forcing me to make tough choices – I’d either have to raise prices or eliminate staff.”

If enacted, the Border Adjustment Tax could result in American consumers spending an additional $1,700 per year on basic necessities like food, clothing, medicine and gasoline.

“Everyone agrees, simplifying our complicated tax code is very much needed, but shifting the burden onto the backs of the middle class while killing U.S. jobs is not the way to do it,” said Robert Medler, VP of Government Affairs for the Tucson Metro Chamber. “Senator Flake hit the nail on the head today – we need tax reform in this country, but introducing a Border Adjustment Tax which amounts to a hidden tax on consumers and punishes those that are the least fortunate dampens what would otherwise be a popular plan.”

Americans for Affordable Products is a coalition of job creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and consumers united against higher prices on everyday necessities. To learn more, please visit: www.KeepAmericaAffordable.com.

Additional Information:

  • Resources: Coalition Infographic, Myth vs. Fact, and More
  • Press Release: AAP Launches Opposition to BAT

To schedule an interview with an Americans for Affordable Products representative, please email press@KeepAmericaAffordable.com.

Arizona Political Leaders React to Trump Picks

President-Elect Trump has begun to name his government advisers and cabinets and Arizona politicians are weighing in on the future Trump Administration.

Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and COO to the Trump campaign took to the airwaves to touting the credentials of President-Elect Trump’s cabinet choices including Senator Jeff Sessions, General Michael Flynn and Congressman Mike Pompeo. Here is video of Treasurer DeWit’s appearance on FoxNews. DeWit may also be chosen to serve in the Trump administration.

US Senator Jeff Flake tweeted, “@SenatorSessions is well like and well regarded, even by those who don’t always agree with him. I look forward to supporting his nomination” upon news that Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to President Trump’s Attorney General.

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-3) joined the orchestrated Democrat opposition to Stephen Bannon by retweeting Rep David Cicilline’s push for a petition rescinding Bannon’s appointment as a senior adviser. Grijalva said, “Steve #Bannon made a career of conspiracy theories and hate speech online. He has no business serving in the White House, period.”

The most aggressive opposition to Trump’s picks have come from Rep Ruben Gallego who represents Arizona’s 7th Congressional District. Since Trump’s win, he has released a barrage of tweets following the typical Democrat talking points on hate, racism and tolerance. Gallego tweeted and retweeted:

“Appointing alt-right leader Steve Bannon undermines @RealDonaldTrump’s promise to ‘bind the wounds of division.’ #NoHateInWhiteHouse.”

“Hate in the form of white nationalism doesn’t belong anywhere near the White House. Steve Bannon’s appointment is appalling & disgraceful.”

“Hate & violence has no place in this country. I stand w/ the #trans community & will work for security&equality for all #TransAwarenessWeek”

Gallego also included a link to his speech on the floor of the US House:

On his Facebook page, Rep Gallego made the following statement regarding his role in playing opposition to Trump, even on common ground issues like infrastructure:

Given everything we know about Donald Trump – and everything we don’t know – I was alarmed by the words of senior leaders from both the progressive and centrist wings of the Democratic party regarding their openness to working with Donald Trump on infrastructure.

Under ordinary circumstances, a bipartisan infrastructure plan would be welcomed. But Donald Trump is not an ordinary politician.

Unfortunately, his infrastructure plan is really a privatization scheme, rife with graft and corruption, whose real purpose is to enrich the Trump family and his supporters. He is not reaching out. He is reaching his hand into America’s pockets, just as he has his whole career. And we must not let him do it.

And continuing his rant on Facebook, Gallego echoed his Twitter post with a link to the Democrat’s opposition letter:

Nobody with ties to White Nationalism should be allowed to work in the White House. Appointing alt-right leader Steve Bannon undermines Donald Trump’s promise to ‘bind the wounds of division.’ Today, I joinedCongressman David Cicilline and many of my House colleagues to demand that Trump rescind this appalling and disgraceful appointment.#NoHateInWhiteHouse

Former Governor Jan Brewer reposted an article on her Facebook page asserting that Trump’s picks for his immigration team, will be very tough:

Donald J. Trump has just appointed the head of his immigration team and it says a lot about how he plans to deal with illegal immigration…

The article, posted on Conservative Tribune, refers to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who was the architect of Arizona’s SB1070. Kobach is known as a staunch advocate for border security and stopping illegal immigration. He has been asked to serve on Trumps immigration team.

Like many Arizona political leaders, Senator John McCain, Governor Doug Ducey, and other members of the congressional delegation have shied away from making social media comments on Trump’s administration choices. Many will continue to watch as the transition team puts people in place and an agenda into motion.

President-Elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office on January 20, 2017.

Senator Jeff Flake Discusses Donald Trump

This week, Senator Jeff Flake made an appearance on KAET’s Horizon with Ted Simons. The interview was focused on the presidential candidacy and campaign of Donald Trump.

It’s no secret that Senator Flake has serious reservations, like many Republicans, about supporting Donald Trump.

Watch as Senator Flake shares his views on Donald Trump.