Spoke tonight with fresh, convincing Jeff Flake of 6th Arizona with regard the succession crisis in the Republican House of Representatives, and he called on all self-announcing candidates for leader and whip to give up their current posts and compete as unprivileged back-bench members. This especially applies to Roy Blunt of Missouri, who is campaigning for leader from his whip post, which Flake explained meant that Blunt, should he lose, would be required to advance the agenda of a man or woman he opposed just moments before. Flake also believes it would strengthen Speaker Hastert if he submitted himself to re-election on February 2, though this would also mean that the Democrats get involved in the election process separate from the Republican leader and whip races.
Flake responded most readily to mention of John Shadegg of 3rd Arizona running for leader. "I've talked to him a number of times," Flake told me, "and I'm encouraging him to get in."