PHOENIX, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Rep. Jeff Flake R-Ariz., has become the first candidate to jump into the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican John Kyl, authorities say.
Flake's declaration came four days after Kyl's announcement he wasn't running again in 2012, KTAR-AM, Phoenix, reported Monday.
The congressman's roots in the state go back to his Mormon great-great grandfather for whom the city of his birth, Snowflake, was inspired.
He stayed on safe political ground when he made his announcement in Phoenix.
"The federal government has kicked the budget can down the road for so long that we no longer have any more road left," Flake said. "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."
Flake, who has represented Arizona's 6th district since 2001, has sponsored bills to establish a guest worker program and has taken a different tack on immigration.
"We have to go for border security first and then we have to realize as well that nearly half of those who came here didn't sneak across the border," Flake said. "They came legally and have overstayed. So we have to address that issue as well, interior enforcement. The whole gamut."
Although Flake has supported ending the Cuba Trade Embargo, he has voted for renewal of the Patriot Act.