Jabs, ads and finger-pointing: U.S. Senate race at full speed
Republican Jeff Flake declines Democrat Richard Carmona's challenge to reject outside money during campaign.Photo: Video by kgun9.com
CREATED Aug. 29, 2012
Reporter: Kevin Keen
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Less than a day after Arizonans find how who'll be on the fall ballot, the candidates in the running for U.S. Senate are already in an all-out sprint for your vote. Republican Jeff Flake and Democrat Richard Carmona find themselves in a war of jabs, ads and finger-pointing.
The first sign that the two campaigns are in full swing could come over the airwaves. Carmona released an ad, introducing himself to more Arizonans. Flake's new ad takes aim at what he calls his opponent's connection to the president.
“Dodging the issues,” the narrator in Flake’s ad states. “Maybe it's because he's the hand-picked candidate of President Barack Obama and doesn't want you to know.”
The six-term congressman brought this topic up during a 9 On Your Side interview the night of the primary.
“He does have his agenda defined,” Flake said of Carmona Tuesday night. “It's pretty much the president's agenda. The president hand selected Richard Carmona to run here in Arizona. I think you can pretty much say the Obama administration's agenda is his agenda.”
“'Hand-picked. Recruited by the president,'” 9 On Your Side reporter Kevin Keen said to Carmona Wednesday, repeating Flake’s words. “What do you say to that?” “This has become kind of a typical political mantra, which has no basis whatsoever,” Carmona replied over the phone. “There's no evidence. I wasn't hand-picked by anybody.”
Carmona added this is a kind of misinformation and negative campaigning he wants to avoid this election. The former surgeon general under President George W. Bush sent a letter to his challenger Tuesday, calling on Flake to join with him in rejecting outside money.
“We both agree that we will refuse external big money--super PAC money--and we will both commit to doing substantive discussion, debate with the American people,” Carmona said to describe the proposal Wednesday.
In the letter dated August 28, he wrote: "I hope you and I can also agree that we should be presenting a choice to Arizona voters, not an agenda funded by a shadowy out-of-state network made up of a few wealthy individuals, corporations or unions that are not accountable to Arizonans."
Flake campaign's told 9 On Your Side he wasn't available for an interview Wednesday, but forwarded his response to Carmona. Flake rejected the proposal, writing: "I am honored to have the support of individuals and organizations in Arizona and across the country. I support the democratic process and the right of free speech, and wouldn't dream of asking them to forfeit these rights."
Keen asked Carmona, “Since your opponent has told you he won't follow your suggestion there, will you be following your own suggestions, those specific points of what you will and won't do? What you will endorse and what you will not endorse?” “I will continue my best to stay positive and debate the issues,” Carmona answered. “On the money side, I have to consider it would be probably not smart of me to unilaterally cut off money and let him bring in all the money. I'd be disproportionately disadvantaged.”