Congressional Record

So, What Does Jeff Flake Do Now?

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced today that he's retiring. What will he do next?
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake announced today that he's retiring. What will he do next? U.S. Senate / Wikipedia
Arizona's junior senator is officially a lame duck.

Facing tanking approval ratings and a seemingly never-ending stream of national reporters flying in to write somber pieces about "the changing face of the Republican party," Flake announced today that he won't be running for re-election.

So what does he do after his term's over in 2018?

Here's a list of the possibilities, in no particular order.

1. Run a conservative think tank.

"I would assume that what he would do is gravitate towards the policy field," said Chuck Coughlin of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants. "That’s where he’s always been comfortable. He's not really a politician — he's much more of a policy person."

That could mean a role at the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, or even back at the Goldwater Institute, where he previously served as executive director. "One might argue that those were the happiest days of his life," Coughlin said.

2. Land a cushy teaching job.

In the time-honored tradition of out-of-work politicians, Flake could wind up with a prestigious title and a relatively easy gig lecturing to undergraduates once a week. After all, he certainly likes giving speeches.

Presumably, either Arizona State University or the University of Arizona would be happy to have him on their faculties, as would his alma mater, Brigham Young University.

3. Cash in.

"He'll probably end up being a lobbyist for oil companies. I'm only half kidding," writes Andy Barr, who ran communications for Richard Carmona when he challenged Flake in 2012.

Before entering politics, Flake worked as a lobbyist for mining interests in Namibia. It's not hard to imagine that after a few speaking engagements to promote his book, he could go down that (highly lucrative) road again.

4. Run for president.

After serving in the Senate, just about any other elected position would be a step down. Well, except one.

"Flake is young and healthy enough to run for president as a Republican, just a thought," Crooked Media's Brian Beutler pointed out on Twitter. "It wouldn't be running to win, it would be running to stop Trump."

5. Live on a desert island.

Seriously. A lesser-known fact about Flake is that he's something of a survivalist. During his summer vacation from Congress in 2009, he spent a week in a remote part of the Marshall Islands, living off coconuts and wild crabs.
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Antonia Noori Farzan is a staff writer at New Times and an honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Arizona, she worked for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.