ibusinesslines.com September 19, 2018

In US Senate primary, Arizona Republicans compete over who loves Trump most

29 August 2018, 01:12 | Melissa Porter

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Shadowed by the death of six-term Sen.

Rep. Martha McSally was the projected victor Tuesday in Arizona's GOP Senate primary, in a race critical to the GOP's hopes of maintaining control of the Senate in November. However, the race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring after his fierce criticism of Trump made his political future in the state untenable.

Deedra Abboud was also in the running for the Democratic Party seat, while the highly-contested Republican Party seat was also sought out by former state Sen.

Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will appoint a member of his own party to succeed McCain. McCain died Saturday after a yearlong battle with brain cancer.

As with other states throughout this election cycle, early turnout has been strong.

In a state whose electoral votes went to Trump, the Republican nominee could use voters' support for the president to their advantage.

In a year where Senate Democrats are playing defense, the Arizona seat offers a rare pickup opportunity that could help them maintain the status quo of a narrowly divided Senate or even tip them into the majority. Will President Trump's favorite, Ron DeSantis, win the Florida Republican nomination for governor?

The problem for Putnam may be that in 2016, he was among the many Republican establishment figures who expressed reservations about Trump publicly. Trump did not formally endorse anyone in the race, although he had praised all the Republican candidates in the past.

During the Republican primary, the candidates exchanged vicious insults while highlighting their closeness to the president. The CNN survey found that 67 percent of Democrats had a favorable opinion of McCain, while just 33 percent of Republicans had a favorable view of the GOP senator.

McSally, a former Air Force colonel who represents a Tucson-area swing district and was the first woman to fly a jet in combat, defeated former State Senator Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Arpaio gained notoriety for his crackdowns on illegal immigration, which his agency continued in defiance of a court order that they amounted to racial profiling.

McSally, a fighter pilot turned congresswoman in the McCain mold, is hoping Ward and Arpaio split Arizona's anti-establishment vote. On Monday, as the political world mourned McCain's death from cancer, Ward tweeted that political correctness was "a cancer".

Sinema's and McSally's Senate runs also have created House openings in Arizona, a fast-growing and increasingly diverse state where Democrats are eager to gain a foothold.

And in Florida, a shooting in Jacksonville on Sunday could amplify the issue of gun control in many races this fall following the attack at a Parkland, Fla., high school earlier this year that killed 17 students and staff. Democrats are eyeing this race as a potential flip this year. One of their best chances is in South Florida, where Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring in a district that should favor Democrats. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Arizona in 1996.

Gov. Rick Scott, a close political ally of Trump, is expected to coast through his primary bid for Senate, setting up a showdown with Democratic Sen.

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