Primary takeaways: Establishment fails and diversity grows

Aug 30, 2018, 03:01
Primary takeaways: Establishment fails and diversity grows

McSally, a fighter pilot turned congresswoman in the McCain mold, is hoping Ward and Arpaio split Arizona's anti-establishment vote.

The Arizona contest to replace the retiring Jeff Flake is considered one of the two top takeover opportunities for Democrats, along with Nevada, and could be critical to the balance of power in the Senate in November.

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who has positioned herself as a moderate, won the Democratic nomination, according to the Associated Press. McCain, who represented Arizona in both houses of Congress for more than 30 years, wasn't exactly embraced by any of the candidates in the race - Ward, GOP Rep. Martha McSally or former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. But 2018 would be a disastrous year for the GOP to end the streak, with partisan control of the Senate likely to hang in the balance. McSally stepped up her attacks against Sinema in the days leading up to primary voting, running an ad characterizing Sinema as a left-wing extremist and dredging up a photo of Sinema wearing a "pink tutu" at an anti-war rally.

Without wasting much time, Flake replied to Trump on Twitter, saying his claim about an attempted endorsement was false.

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Tuesday's results could also help Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey decide they type of person he wants to pick to fill McCain's seat through 2020.

Other contenders include Jon Kyl, who served with McCain in the Senate before and was Republican whip for a time, and Barbara Barrett, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland who unsuccessfully ran for Arizona governor in 1994.

Trump carried Florida by just over 1 percentage point in 2016. It has nearly an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans.

Democrats, though, are hopeful of capturing one of Arizona's Senate seats for the first time in almost a quarter century, saying the GOP is wounded after a divisive primary that saw the party's conservatives split between Mr. Arpaio and Ms. Ward. If Putnam manages to win, he'll head into the general election with his handling of Trump leaving him exposed to critics on his left and right. Beyond the raw vote totals, the GOP count also was a larger share of its last presidential election turnout.

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Pragmatic centrists are hoping for Gwen Graham, the former congresswoman and daughter of Florida political icon Bob Graham, who served as governor and senator.

As in many GOP races across the country, candidates in the Republican primary competed to prove their loyalty to President Trump.

Another openly LGBT candidate won her primary bid Tuesday night for a seat in Congress, bringing to 12 the number of LGBT candidates for the U.S. House this year.

Several other candidates were also competing for the nomination, including former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, who, along with Graham, outspent Gillum.

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Democrats describe Edmondson's time in office as 'someone who fights for the little guy.' Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt will face off in the Republican runoff Tuesday. Whoever wins will be the favorite this fall in the open seat against Democratic nominee Drew Edmondson, the state's former attorney general.