• Jeff Flake,  Joe Arpaio

    AZ-Sen GOP Poll Watch: Sheriff Joe Arpaio Leads the Republican Pack

    Maricopa, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio prepares to speak to a crowd in the East Room on the grounds of the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011

    If Sheriff Joe runs will he be a formidable candidate?

    Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio led a field of potential Republican Senate candidates in Arizona with 21 percent in a poll of likely GOP primary voters last week.

    Rep. Jeff Flake, who announced his candidacy for the seat of retiring Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Monday, finished second with 16.8 percent in the Summit Consulting Group survey. Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth took third, with 16.6 percent. He was unsuccessful in his primary challenge to Sen. John McCain last year.

    The auto-dial poll of 1,881 likely GOP primary voters was conducted Thursday. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points, which would put the top three finishers in a statistical tie.

    Perhaps, but I think the nominee will likely be GOP Rep. Jeff Flake. I doubt Sheriff Joe runs – Maricopa County Sheriff is a better position anyway.

    But, I would relish the fireworks between Sheriff Joe and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano race though.

  • Gabrielle Giffords,  Janet Napolitano,  Jeff Flake,  John Kyl,  John Shadegg

    AZ-Sen: Senator John Kyl to Retire – Seat Downgraded to Leans Republican

    Arizona Republican Senator John Kyl

    At 68 years old, Arizona U.S. Senator John Kyl is calling it quits.

    Three-term Sen. Jon Kyl will announce his retirement at a noon ET news conference Thursday in Phoenix, two Republican sources confirmed to Fox News.

    The Arizona lawmaker, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, will be the fifth senator scheduled for re-election next year to announce a departure from Congress in 2012.

    Kyl, 68, served four terms in the House before winning a Senate seat. In 2006, he was named one of the 10 best senators by Time Magazine.

    “He’s leaving now at the top of his game, he has money in the bank, and he’s one of the few long-term incumbents who doesn’t face a Tea Party challenge,” a senior Senate GOP aide with knowledge of Kyl’s decision said.

    Kyl has never lost an election, and would not have been expected to lose a vote for a fourth term. He will be 70 years old when he leaves.

    Good for Kyl as he leaves with enough years to enjoy life and leaves at the top.

    For Republicans, this may not be so good as this seat would be an easy hold for them. In fact, Larry Sabato has downgraded GOP prospects to “Leans Republican.”

    So, who are mentioned as possible replacements?

    Republicans: Rep. Jeff Flake, former Rep. John Shadegg and probably countless others in the Arizona Legislature

    Democrats: Former Arizona Governor and Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano and Rep Gabrielle Giffords (if she rehabs in time).