As the GOP wave that had started on the East Coast began cresting over Arizona on Election Night, excited energy filled the Hyatt as many seemed to sense that some power was coming. But not every Republican in the building was jumping for joy.
One, whose reelection was all but assured long before Nov. 2, had the audacity to consider what the party would need to do come January, when campaign criticisms and promises must be reconciled on Capitol Hill.
In other words, U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, of Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, was being all Jeff Flake-y about the election.
“I don’t think we ought to celebrate for too long,” said Flake, known for occasionally stoking the ire of his GOP colleagues. “If we don’t do what we need to do, it will be a short stint in the majority.”
Flake, who held a small gathering in one of the Hyatt’s meeting rooms on Election Night, preferred to trade the revelry of the evening for facing the realities of being in power – and therefore at least partially responsible – for what happens to the country.
“Cutting spending is priorities one, two and three. We are at the point where we have to,” Flake said. “The cutting can’t just be from unpopular programs. It’s probably going to be more than out caucus can stomach.”
As I left the five-term congressman’s gathering and made my way back to the main lobby of the Hyatt, I was reminded that there was actually a party going on in the rest of the building.