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Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake (Gage Skidmore / Flickr CC)

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake announced today he will not run for re-election after his current term, per AZ Central.

Why it matters: Flake's vacant seat will make it even harder for Republicans to maintain their majority control of the Senate — this now makes two Republicans, both consistently attacked by Trump, who have declared they're not seeking re-election.

Flake's approval has been consistently declining in the polls over the past year, per AZ Central. He has been a consistent voice of opposition to Trump throughout his presidency, and he has been considered "too nice" for the Senate under Trump's tenure. "There may not be a place for a Republican like me in the current Republican climate or the current Republican Party," Flake told the AZ Republic.

Flake joins Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker who announced his forthcoming retirement on Sept. 26. Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon has openly supported Flake's challenger, Kelli Ward, who lost in the primary challenge against John McCain last year. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema is the leading Democratic candidate in the Arizona race, though Bannon's ally Robert Mercer has invested $300,000 in Ward's super PAC and Trump previously offered a quasi-endorsement for her in August: "Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate."

More on Flake's potential replacements, per the AZ Republic: "Kelli Ward, the former state senator from Lake Havasu City who lost her primary challenge last year against Sen. John McCain... Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit, former Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham and Arizona Board of Regents member Jay Heiler."

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
38 mins ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

12 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."