Flake has a long record
of leading the anti-spendign charge.
Cardon appeared viable for much of the campaign. He loaned his campaign nearly $8.8 million of the $9.6 million he raised through Aug. 8. That allowed him to launch more than 10 television ads. Cardon also ran as a conservative outsider at a time when some the national GOP electorate seems to be favoring such candidates (see: Indiana, Texas).
In his ads and in debates, Cardon attacked Flake from the right on illegal immigration due to Flake's past support for the DREAM Act and other goals contained in comprehensive immigration reform policies.
The 41-year-old also found a few social issues to differentiate himself such as hitting Flake for his vote to repeal the military's now-defunct Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, and repeatedly dinged the congressman for being a "career politician."
Yet, much like earlier primaries in Wisconsin and North Dakota, Republican voters are falling in line behind the establishment candidate seen as presenting the best chance to win in November.
Cardon's camp charged Flake flip-flopped on illegal immigration and lied about term limits. His campaign also attacked the "liberal media," specifically the Arizona Republic, for a front-page story
in July about his own issues with illegal immigration and his business dealings.
Yet all that fell on deaf ears. By early August, Cardon cut back his television ads, a move widely seen as an acknowledgement that the race was lost. Even though Cardon's campaign insisted he was not done on the airwaves yet, and even posted a photo
on Facebook of Cardon working on new television ads, all that resulted was $52,000 cable buy
in Phoenix and a pair of Web videos late last week. Those netted a total of about 500 views between the two of them by Aug. 26.
Flake even called off $150,000 of advertising as his campaign became convinced that he had the Republican primary wrapped up.
He'll need those six figures and more for the fall as Carmona attempts to prove that he's viable in a state Obama's campaign has long wanted to capture. Flake will off as the favorite but in the same way Cardon ran against a uniquely strong candidate, the GOP will have the same against Carmona and his biography.
Expect Carmona to attempt to portray Flake as an extremist. Flake's July speech
about his preferance for repealing the 17th Amendment is likely to play a role Carmona's messaging.