SPOTLIGHT

The Other Potential 2020 Senator to Watch

Jeff Flake, a Judiciary Committee member, has been a vocal Trump critic.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., confer as President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee to begin his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
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Hanna Trudo
Sept. 18, 2018, 10:12 a.m.

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings served as a national platform for Democrats looking toward 2020. But in the wake of sexual assault allegations against the judge and forthcoming public testimony from him and his accuser, this may also be a final moment in the Senate for Jeff Flake.

The retiring Republican from Arizona was one of the first in his party to call for a delayed Judiciary Committee vote. And he’ll have a chance to question Kavanaugh on national TV on Monday, an event that will likely receive far more viewers than last week’s hearings.

That puts the vocal President Trump critic, who has said he hopes another Republican runs in 2020 to at least remind the party what conservatism really is, in the unique position of potentially helping derail the confirmation of a justice both the Republican conference and the conservative base support.

If Flake runs himself, that's not a recipe for success in a GOP primary against Trump, who has so far refrained from venting frustration at the latest development. But depending on how the proceeding goes next week, their respective handling of it could provide another stark example of what separates them.

-- Hanna Trudo

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