Sen. Jeff flake, R-Arizona has announced his retirement. He made it pretty clear that he is bringing his Senate career to a close because Flake is sick and tired of Donald Trump, a man with whom he has clashed repeatedly. Hot Air speculates that Flake has looked at his reelection numbers, measured them in the balance, and has found them wanting. He has a formidable primary opponent in Kelli Ward and, beyond that, a strong Democratic challenger Krysten Sinema. Better, perhaps, to tell the voters of Arizona, “You can’t fire me. I quit.”

Makes an impassioned speech on the Senate floor

Flake formally announced his retirement on the floor of the Senate.

He blistered President Trump and suggested that he used Twitter to divide Americans against one another, undermine American values, and to tell lies. He imagined a return to the days when politicians can argue their positions with passion but never be afraid to compromise. However, when that day comes, it will be without Jeff Flake. His floor speech was, in effect, a surrender declaration. Trump, he conceded implicitly, has won.

Jumped or was pushed?

Hot Air speculates that Mitch McConnell must have pulled Flake aside and told him it was time to hang it up for the good of the Senate and the Republican Party. The theory makes sense in that Flake’s reelect numbers had become terrible due to his constant squabbling with President Trump. McConnell is likely not happy with the idea of Kelli Ward as the candidate to follow Flake into the Senate.

Ward’s electability is suspect. Besides, if she did win, she would be entirely loyal to President Trump and not to McConnell as the Senate Republican leadership. With Flake out of the way, the path is cleared for a sounder person to step up and run for the seat.

What happens now?

Democrats are delighted. Arizona is neither red nor blue in its political leanings, and therefore the open seat is a possible pickup in an election year that may seem slim pickings for the opposition party. The Democrats are defending far more seats than are Republicans are with the very real chance that the GOP will be able to expand their wafer-thin margin in the Senate, with the predictable effects in that party’s ability to move legislation.

Like Florida, which may be a Republican pickup, the Arizona senate race will be closely watched. The other Arizona senator is none other than John McCain, who is fighting what amounts to a death sentence due to a cancer diagnosis. Chances are, sadly, that McCain’s seat will soon become open as well.