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AP News Guide: Arizona primary election

August 27, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) — A competitive Republican Senate primary and a three-way race to be the Democrat who challenges incumbent Gov. Doug Ducey are the marquee races for this year’s Arizona primary on August 28.

The state has one of the latest primaries in the country, giving nominees just 10 weeks to spar with their partisan counterparts before the general election on Nov. 6.

Many voters took advantage of early voting procedures that allow people to file their ballot throughout August.

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SENATE

Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are vying for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. They’re looking to fill the seat that U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake is vacating.

Much of their campaigning has centered on their various ties to President Donald Trump, as well as the issues of border security and immigration policy. McSally has seen support from more establishment-style Republicans, while Ward has caught grassroots support from many of the state’s most conservative voters, some of whom backed her when she unsuccessfully faced Sen. John McCain in the 2016 Republican primary. McCain died Saturday.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is perceived as the front-runner in the Democratic primary for the Flake seat against activist Deedra Abboud. Sinema, a longtime politician here, has been airing television ads all summer, while Abboud has refused to take corporate political action committee donations and is running a grassroots-style campaign.

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CONGRESS

All nine U.S. House races are on the ballot. But the 2nd and the 9th Districts are drawing extra interest as they’re open seats currently held by McSally and Sinema.

Four Republicans and seven Democrats are running for the McSally seat, a district that covers rural Cochise County and parts of populous Tucson in Pima County. Three Republicans — Dave Giles, Steve Ferrara and Irina Baroness Von Behr — hope to be nominated as the candidate who can flip the Sinema district in Maricopa County. Former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

There’s also a three-way Republican primary in the 1st Congressional District between Wendy Rogers, state Sen. Steve Smith and Tiffany Shedd to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran. Democrats Anita Malik, Garrick McFadden and Heather Ross are locked in a Democratic primary in the 6th district to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. David Schweikert.

Democrat Rep. Ruben Gallego is facing a primary challenge from state Sen. Catherine Miranda in the 7th Congressional District.

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GOVERNOR

On the statewide level, Democrats state Sen. Steve Farley, Kelly Fryer and David Garcia are vying in the gubernatorial primary. The winner is expected to meet Gov. Doug Ducey in November.

Ducey is challenged in the GOP primary by former Secretary of State Ken Bennett. Bennett sought to run as a publicly financed candidate. But on Friday, he filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State Michele Reagan over concerns that an online platform to submit his qualifying contributions was closed too early.

Much of the gubernatorial primary race has been focused on the issue of public education after teachers walked out of their classroom this spring and held a six-day teacher strike. A subsequent state budget provided for a 20 percent pay raise over the next three years, but the Democrats have campaigned on plans to raise more revenue for schools.

Candidates also focused on immigration policies and border security. While Ducey’s trumpeted his creation of the Border Strike Force — a new law enforcement collaboration effort — the Democrats have emphasized that they would pull National Guard troops from the border.

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OTHER STATE RACES

There are also primaries for the Superintendent of Public Instruction, with incumbent Diane Douglas facing off against four other Republicans and a two -way Democratic primary between Kathy Hoffman and David Schapira.

Secretary of State Michele Reagan faces a primary challenge from Steve Gaynor. Republicans Jo Ann Sabbagh and state Sen. Kimberly Yee are running for state Treasurer. Both of those races have unopposed Democratic candidates.

Candidates are also running statewide for the Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees utilities. There are two open seats and primaries on both sides of the aisle.

There are also about 60 primaries for legislative district seats.

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