Congressman Jeff Flake's bid to become Senator Jeff Flake is picking up steam -- and GOP senators are beginning to take notice, including Utah Senator Mike Lee, who endorsed Flake's candidacy today.
"Jeff Flake's record on fiscal conservatism speaks for itself," Lee says in a statement. "He was offering legislation to cut spending, end earmark abuse, and limit government long before the Tea Party movement became popular. His election to the Senate will extend and build upon the conservative legacy of Senator Kyl. I am certain that he will be a great asset in the all-important
effort to rein in federal spending and restore constitutionally limited government. I am proud to support him."
Lee's a little out there. A staunch "state's rights" conservative, he argued earlier this year that child labor laws are unconstitutional.
He said the following in a Youtube video:
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Congress decided it wanted to prohibit [child labor], so it passed a law--no more child labor. The Supreme Court heard a challenge to that and the Supreme Court decided a case in 1918 called Hammer v. Dagenhardt. In that case, the Supreme Court acknowledged something very interesting -- that, as reprehensible as child labor is, and as much as it ought to be abandoned -- that's something that has to be done by state legislators, not by Members of Congress. [...]
This may sound harsh, but it was designed to be that way. It was designed to be a little bit harsh. Not because we like harshness for the sake of harshness, but because we like a clean division of power, so that everybody understands whose job it is to regulate what.
Now, we got rid of child labor, notwithstanding this case. So the entire world did not implode as a result of that ruling.
As radical as claiming child labor laws are unconstitutional may sound, it's exactly the sort of right-wing chatter that gets people elected in a state like Arizona.
Flake is the only declared candidate for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jon Kyl. Other GOPers considering a run include former TV pitchman J.D. Hayworth and fagala-fearing Congressman Trent Franks.
The kooks over at the Maricopa County Republican Party seem to think Flake's not quite nutty enough to deserve the GOP nomination for the seat, and are actively campaigning against his candidacy. As an alternative, they're pimping the hypothetical candidacy of Franks. Read all about that here.