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More talk in Flake's future, but no presidential run

Former U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has eschewed a presidential campaign in favor of becoming a talking head on CBS. "I will not be a candidate," said the Arizona Republican, who had mulled challenging President Donald Trump in next year's primaries.

Flake will work on a CBS series called "Common Ground," featuring "stories that shine a light on opposing groups coming together."

"I have always said that I do hope that there is a Republican who challenges the president in the primary. I still hope that somebody does, but that somebody won't be me," Flake said on CBS This Morning on Tuesday.

Flake said any such challenge would be a "difficult path."

"The [Republican National Committee] and the president's campaign are now melded; they're trying to do everything they can to squelch any opposition," he said.

"I still hope that some — and some are still talking about it — do run, I think that that's healthy and I'm not a fan of this president," said Flake, who did not seek another term last year as he faced the prospects of a primary challenge from the right by Kelli Ward.

Ward, a Tea Party acolyte who lost the GOP primary to Martha McSally — who herself lost the general election to Kyrsten Sinema but was then appointed to fill two years of the remaining four of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain's term — was elected this weekend as the chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

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Alexis Egeland/Cronkite News

Flake in 2017.