Bad optics: Richard Carmona, the Democratic nominee in Arizona's Senate race -- and a former U.S. Surgeon General -- until recently owned mutual funds that contained stocks in tobacco companies Altria Group and Philip Morris International, the Arizona Republic reports:
Carmona's campaign told The Arizona Republic that Carmona, a Democrat, has a broker who picks and manages his investments for him and that Carmona was unaware of the cigarette-related stocks until his financial information was gathered for the personal financial-disclosure report he filed with the Senate in connection with his candidacy. When Carmona found out, he immediately divested the mutual funds with the stocks, his campaign said. According to his financial-disclosure report, Carmona's holdings in Altria Group and Philip Morris International were worth between $6,006 and $90,000.
Cigarette packs carry a surgeon general's warning about health risks. Carmona was an outspoken critic of tobacco during his 2002 to 2006 tenure as President George W. Bush's surgeon general. In 2006, he issued a major report detailing the health consequences of involuntary exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. In 2003, Carmona told a congressional committee that he saw "no need for any tobacco products in society."
GOP Rep. Jeff Flake has generally been considered the favorite in Arizona's Senate contest, but some recent polls have showed a tight race.