The U.S. Senate race in Arizona to replace retiring Republican Jon Kyl was supposed to be an easy hold for the GOP. But the last several polls have shown the race is tightening between the Republican candidate, Congressman Jeff Flake, and his Democratic opponent, Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general under George W. Bush. One poll from last week even showed Carmona two points ahead of Flake, which was surprising since Flake led Carmona by double digits as recently as June. The Real Clear Politics average shows Flake with just a 2.3-point lead.
That environment explains the latest ad from the Flake campaign, which features Dr. Cristina V. Beato, the acting assistant secretary of health during Carmona's tenure as surgeon general. Beato alleges that Carmona "pounded" angrily on her door in the middle of the night while she and her family slept. Watch the ad below:
"Carmona is not who he seems," Beato says. "He has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women."
As she says in the video, Beato testified to Congress about Carmona's behavior in 2007. Here's a report from Politico on the testimony:
Beato gave her testimony in secret in 2007, saying Carmona was an “extremely angry” person, a “living nightmare” to work with, had trouble working for a female supervisor and abused travel privileges by improperly billing taxpayers for some personal expenses, according to the testimony. When POLITICO contacted Beato recently, she confirmed her testimony and reiterated her accusations on the record, five years after she originally gave them to the House committee.
Beato’s allegations — which the Carmona campaign vehemently denies — highlights an intense past rivalry between two top health officials from the Bush administration and are coming to light anew as Carmona seeks the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona.
And what’s clear from a previously unreleased House Oversight and Government Reform Committee document obtained by POLITICO is that Beato, a former top official at Health and Human Services, and Carmona, as surgeon general, clashed for years over some of the most fundamental issues in public health.