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Aug 11, 6:27 PM EDT

The Latest: GOP Sen. Jeff Flake facing challenges in Arizona

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Arizona's 2018 Senate race (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake is crisscrossing Arizona during the August congressional recess as he works to shore up his backing ahead of a tough 2018 re-election race.

The senator spent the past week touring the U.S.-Mexico border, visiting a wildfire-scarred town and giving a speech to business leaders.

Flake is facing low approval ratings and challenges from his own party and is also in the sights of Democrats.

Flake has angered President Donald Trump by criticizing him, and state supporters of the president are angry, too.

But Flake is taking it in stride, saying Arizonans expect their senators to speak their mind and be independent.

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7:40 a.m.

Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema says she is "seriously considering" a run for the Arizona Senate seat occupied by Republican Jeff Flake.

The three-term Democrat says she's heard from many in her state encouraging her to run. Flake narrowly won in 2012 and is among the very few GOP incumbents who might be vulnerable next year in a Senate map that favors Republicans.

The 41-year-old Sinema earned a reputation as a liberal while serving in the Arizona legislature. But she's sought to cultivate a more moderate profile in the House. She is the first openly bisexual member of Congress.

Flake has been a high-profile critic of President Donald Trump and has written a book, "Conscience of a Conservative," that details his unease about Trump and the Republican Party

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