Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona Monday launched a bid for the seat of retiring Sen. Jon Kyl.
"I'm announcing today that I'm a candidate for the US Senate," said the six-term congressman.
Kyl, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, announced Thursday that he would not run for a fourth term next year.
In a statement, Flake honored Kyl, saying "Senator Jon Kyl has given all of the eventual candidates in this race an excellent model of how to best serve Arizona and the country. He's set the bar extremely high, and I'll do my best to meet that standard."
Flake, who represents Arizona's six congressional district, which is just to the southeast of the Phoenix-Tempe metropolitan area, kicked off his Senate bid at the same Phoenix hotel where Kyl last week announced his retirement when his current term ends.
Flake highlighted the on-going battle over the deficit and government spending in making his announcement.
"The current crisis represents a clear and present danger to all of us. We are approaching a fiscal cliff, and unless we do something we're going to go right over it. I can't stress enough how important it is to be bold," said Flake.
After Kyl's announcement last week, the Club for Growth encouraged Flake to run for the Senate, and minutes after Flake made it official on Monday, the group formally endorsed the congressman.
"Jeff Flake is a proven, tireless champion for economic freedom, and Club for Growth PAC will do everything it can in the Republican primary and the general election to help him win this race," said Club President Chris Chocola, in a statement.
"Jon Kyl has been a strong, clear-eyed leader on pro-growth economic principles his entire career, and both Arizona and the country have benefited from his years of service," added Chocola. "Jeff Flake will make a perfect successor to Kyl in the seat."
The Club for Growth is a fiscally conservative organization that endorses and contributes to Republican candidates.
The most recent Federal Election Commission report shows Flake with over $627,000 cash on hand, a pretty healthy war-chest to begin a campaign.
Flake indicated he'll hit the campaign trail in the coming months, saying "as soon as possible as the Congressional schedule allows, Cheryl and I will get the kids and travel around the state and do a statewide campaign."
Former GOP Rep. John Shadegg was also considered another contender for Kyl's seat, but he said on Friday that he would not run. Other possible Republican candidates include Rep. Trent Franks, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and state Senate President Russell Pearce.
Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had been contemplating a run for Senate before she was shot last month, Democratic sources last week confirmed to CNN. One Democratic congressman told CNN he talked to Giffords about it before the shooting, and says she was "very interested in the possibility of running for the Senate."
- CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report
- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
Don't we have enough flakes in the Senate already?
Flake is a real person? My bad......though they were talking about Palin or Bachmann.
Too easy – waaaaay too easy.
Just what we need- another republican Flake. Sorry Jeff – too easy to ignore!
The last thing we need... another Republican flake in the Senate..
Ah, the Club for Growth (of billionaire's bank accounts) has endorsed this individual who's last name makes up one third of Granola cereal!
I want to see his birth certificate to prove he was really born, and not cloned in some vat from John Edwards' and Mitt Romney's DNA!
To be added to the list of self-descriptors for Republicans: Hyde, DeLay, Flake.
Many jokes could be, and probably will be made of this coincidence, but truely no persons name should be the apex of a joke, or decending opinion about one of the nations governing bodies. However, it has got to be pointed out that there are too many flakes running the country, and far too many flakes doing all they can to ruin the country. Then again, there are many misinformed, maladjusted flakes who vote. Where the line gets drawn is anyone's guess.
SELF IMPOSING John Mccain could run for that seat also. He has enough HOT AIR that makes[ no sense] to fill both seats that way he could add to his seniority and get another Government Check that he thinks other citizens should not get. Only GOP politicians should be able to double and triple DIP no matter how many old folks lose their Medicare and Social Security checks.GOP really Means GET OLD PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Let the vetting begin.
Gawd this is too easy. A rethug names flake!!! :) :). There's a joke in ther somewhere!!!!
Is it me or these people all look the same?
I can see it now "Flake wishes to replace previous flake".
We have enough republicans flakes in Senate and the House for that matter. If he won it would be one less republican flake in the house but one more republican flake in the Senate. Sounds like a loose loose situation unless of course if he lost, then it's just one less flake, and that's a good thing.