A tweet by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has escalated tensions between the GOP freshman from Arizona and an influential conservative political action committee.
The Arizona Republic reports that the Senate Conservatives Fund, a “tea party”-style group that backed Flake in Arizona’s 2012 Republican Senate primary, last week began airing a radio ad against Flake for refusing to support defunding President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
“Jeff Flake won’t stand up to President Obama and join conservatives in pledging to oppose funding for the implementation of ‘Obamacare,’ ” said the 60-second commercial from the group founded by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
Flake supports defunding the law, but he has stated previously he doesn’t believe that goal can be accomplished through brinksmanship over a possible government shutdown. He argues that much of the health-care law relies on mandatory spending not funded through the continuing resolution.
The Republican on Monday posted to his Twitter feed a link to the PAC’s critical ad with the comment, “Oh, whatever …”
Matt Hoskins, the Senate Conservatives Fund’s executive director, said by Wednesday, the PAC’s radio ad had been swapped for a new one that referenced Flake’s flippant tweet.
The revised commercial, part of a two-week, $31,750 radio ad buy, says the “Oh, whatever” remark reflects Flake’s attitude toward conservatives and adds that Flake “used to be one of us, but now he’s become one of them.”
“And the next time Jeff Flake asks for your support, tell him, ‘Oh, whatever,’ ” the ad says.
Flake declined to elaborate on the flap to The Arizona Republic.