By Jim Ellis
Aug. 28, 2018 — We have now come to the end of the multi-state primaries for the 2018 election cycle. Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma voters go to the polls today in one of the last major primary days of the current election cycle. We take a look at how all the primaries look like they will shake down:
Two statewide campaigns are on the Grand Canyon State primary ballot, the Republican US Senate contest, and the Democratic race to determine the general election opponent of Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
The Senate primary is now clouded, of course, with the death of Sen. John McCain (R), though his passing should have no effect upon today’s vote. Gov. Ducey will appoint a replacement for the late senator, but he announced over the weekend that an individual won’t be named until after Sen. McCain is laid to rest. The new senator will serve until the 2020 election, at which point a special vote will be held for the winner to serve the balance of the term. Sen. McCain was re-elected in 2016, meaning the seat again comes in-cycle in 2022.
Republicans in the state will choose among Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. With polling showing McSally pulling away from the other two, and Ward sending an ill-advised tweet after Sen. McCain’s death — her former opponent in the 2016 Senate Republican primary — the stage appears set to propel the Tucson-area congresswoman to victory tonight.
If the predicted match-up does come to fruition, the open general election will feature two prominent female House members doing battle: McSally and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) who is virtually unopposed on the Democratic ballot. Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is retiring after one term.
Gov. Ducey is set for re-nomination and figures to face either Arizona State University professor David Garcia, state Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson), or Lutheran minister Kelly Fryer. Polling suggests that Garcia is favored by what appears to be a large margin.
Three congressional district races are of note. In the sprawling 1st District that comprises most of eastern Arizona, a trio of Republicans is vying for the opportunity of opposing freshman Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Sedona). State Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa), retired Air Force officer and frequent candidate Wendy Rogers, and attorney Tiffany Shedd are the candidates competing for the GOP nomination. This general election has the potential of becoming competitive in what is now a marginal political district that leans towards the Democrats.