Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) unleashed his hardest-hitting TV ad yet against his Democratic Senate opponent Richard Carmona on Thursday morning, a 30-second spot in which Carmona’s former boss sharply criticizes his temperament and interaction with women.
“Carmona is not who he seems,” former acting assistant secretary of health and human services Cristina Beato says in the commercial. “He has issues with anger, with ethics, and with women. I have testified to this under oath to Congress. Richard Carmona should never, ever be in the U.S. Senate.”
Carmona served as surgeon general during the Bush administration from 2002-2006, falling under the oversight of Beato. Politico reported in May that Beato gave congressional testimony in 2007 charging that Carmona had anger problems and trouble working for a female boss. She accused him of once banging on the door of her house in the middle of the night.
In the Politico story, Carmona’s campaign denied Beato’s charges and sought to discredit her, pointing out allegations that Beato had lied on her résumé. A Carmona spokesman denied Beato’s claims once again on Thursday morning.
“These allegations are completely false,” responded Carmona spokesman Andy Barr. “Dr. Beato is a partisan who was caught trying to politicize science at HHS and couldn’t be confirmed to a post because she lied on her resume. It’s no secret that Dr. Carmona pushed back on her attempts to spin science for political gain, but this accusation is a work of fiction. Congressman Flake’s decision to run this false ad is deplorable and shows how desperate how is.”
The ad, which is running statewide, comes as all indications point to a close contest to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R). Both parties’ Senate campaign arms have joined the air war, and Democratic and Republican internal surveys released Wednesday showed a single-digit contest, but differed over which candidate held the lead.
Flake and Carmona debated for the first time on Wednesday night.
Updated at 10:31 a.m.