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Martha McSally wins Arizona Republican Senate primary

August 29, 2018

Rep. Martha McSally was the projected winner Tuesday in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary, in a race critical to the GOP’s hopes of maintaining control of the Senate in November.

Ms. McSally had more than 50 percent of the vote in early returns, easily outdistancing former state lawmaker Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose second loss in as many elections likely ends his political career.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema captured the nomination, setting up a clash between two skilled politicians.

The race is to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican who clashed with President Trump and has one of the worst state approval ratings of any senator in the chamber.

Tuesday’s vote also came just days after the death Saturday of the state’s other senator, John McCain, who had served for more than three decades in the Senate. Ms. McSally held a moment of silence for Mr. McCain at her victory rally, before tearing into Ms. Sinema.

“My opponent is somebody who’s left of the Pelosi Democrats,” the Republican said, comparing her own service as an Air Force fighter pilot to Ms. Sinema’s time as an activist or, as Ms. McSally called it, “between a patriot and a protester.”

She quipped that Ms. Sinema has bragged about having 100 pairs of shoes. “I, on the other hand, have 100 combat missions,” she said.

Democrats, though, are hopeful of capturing one of Arizona’s Senate seats for the first time in nearly 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.

“Congresswoman McSally has spent this long, nasty intra-party fight burning her campaign’s resources and squandering her credibility with the voters who will decide this election,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

He said Ms. McSally had to tilt to the right to win the primary, leaving her too far from center to win the general election.

Anticipating victory, Ms. McSally began running ads targeting Ms. Sinema last week.

In the state’s other key race, Gov. Doug Ducey was projected to win the nomination to run for another term. On the Democratic side David Garcia was the projected winner, thrilling liberals who hope he can mobilize the state’s Hispanic population in November.

Mr. Garcia is also a teacher, in a state where Mr. Ducey faced teacher strikes over pay issues earlier this year.

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