Today’s Next-to-Last Primaries

Today marks the second-to-last major primary day of the 2014 cycle, as voters in three states visit the polls to choose nominees.

In Arizona, Republicans will select a candidate to oppose former Clinton Administration official Fred DuVal (D) in the general election. State Treasurer Doug Ducey, the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery who is running on strong border security that earned him the support of both Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has been leading in all polling. Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith has surpassed attorney Christine Jones for second place, but the race appears to be Ducey’s to lose.

The GOP will also choose three nominees in competitive US House districts. In the 1st, a tight race culminates among state House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman, and wealthy rancher Gary Kiehne. Tobin and Kwasman are neck and neck according to late polling, but Kiehne remains within striking distance. The winner earns the right to challenge vulnerable Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-1), who could lose as an incumbent for the second time. She was first elected in 2008, defeated in 2010, and re-elected in 2012.

The 2nd District is even tighter. There, two-term Rep. Ron Barber (D) could even be considered an underdog. Two years ago, retired Air Force officer Martha McSally (R) came within less than one percentage point of unseating Barber. In a more favorable turnout year for Republicans, added to the controversy involving children coming across the Mexican border in and around this district, may be enough to tip this campaign to the challenger.

In the 9th CD, freshman Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) tonight finds out if she will defend her seat against retired Air Force officer Wendy Rogers or former Oakland Raiders and Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter, both of whom are vying for the Republican nomination. If a Republican wave were to develop, this seat could come into play. If we see a more normal turnout model, then Rep. Sinema is a decided favorite.

Oklahoma City Republican voters will decide if former Army Lt. Col. Steve Russell, who led the team in Iraq that captured Saddam Hussein and then authored the book, “We Got Him”, squares off with state Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. The latter is more successful recruiting dollar support, the former has the grassroots advantage. Russell outpaced Douglas in the June 24 primary.

In Florida, all 27 incumbents are seeking re-election, but only one district tonight is drawing any interest. Miami’s 26th District, converted by Democrat Joe Garcia in 2012 in his third run for Congress, hosts a Republican primary featuring five GOP candidates including defeated scandal-tainted Rep. David Rivera. Most believe that Miami Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo is the leading candidate. This will be a very competitive race in the fall.

At this point, even though the congressional map has been replaced by court order, the judge rendering the relevant opinions stated last week that the new lines will take effect in the 2016 election. Democrats could appeal that ruling, but so far have not take such action.

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