Early polling shows Flake may not enjoy the support in Arizona he does on the national circuit. A poll taken several days before Flake formally announced his Senate campaign showed him trailing Sheriff Joe Arpaio, another a tea party national star. Arpaio has not said if he'll run, though there are reports he is considering it.
Flake is something of an immigration and social issue moderate, having voted in support of the so-called comprehensive immigration bills critics decry as "amnesty" laws and has been just one of roughly a dozen House Republicans who voted in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Both stances may make him more attractive to a general electorate, but it's not clear how they'll play with Arizona's conservative GOP base.
But with the Club For Growth and FreedomWorks behind him, Flake can boast his own tea party bona fides in the face of attacks from the right. And FreedomWorks is an especially good tea party backer -- in its release today, the group called itself "pivotal" in the election of tea party stars like Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).