Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Arizona Senate primary run in Trump's shadow

HRC Celebrates Pro Equality Champion Kyrsten Sinema’s Primary Win				
									By Ianthe Metzger HRC Celebrates Pro Equality Champion Kyrsten Sinema’s Primary Win By Ianthe Metzger
Johnnie Parks | 29 August, 2018, 15:51

In a low-key event at a Greek restaurant near his home, he said he'd dedicate himself to ensuring President Donald Trump gets re-elected in 2020.

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.

McSally is favored because she has the support of the party establishment and their donors - she outspent her opponents 10-1 on the airwaves - and because opposition to her on the right is split between two insurgent candidates, former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former State Senator Kelli Ward. Jeff Flake's open seat, and Democrats are in a competitive race for the gubernatorial nomination.

Many political observers predicted McSally would emerge as the nominee with Ward and Arpaio splitting up the state's most conservative voters.

A contest between Sinema and McSally is one of the most evenly matched of the cycle, said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at the non-partisan Cook Political Report, who is tracking Senate races. Trump did not formally endorse anyone in the race, although he had praised all the Republican candidates in the past. Arpaio, the former Maricopa county sheriff, was only able to run because Trump pardoned him after he was convicted of violating a federal court order to stop racially profiling Latinos.

Trump spared Arpaio a possible jail sentence a year ago by pardoning his federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols.

For months Arizona voters have seen Sinema's ads touting her "record of independence", said Chuck Coughlin, a veteran Republican strategist in the state, and that will make it harder for McSally to make the case that she is "too liberal" for Arizona.

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The problem for Putnam may be that in 2016, he was among the many Republican establishment figures who expressed reservations about Trump publicly. John McCain, whose death on Saturday came after election officials estimated most voters had already cast early ballots in the race.

Both Ward and Arpaio have stoked plenty of controversy in the past, and that has Republicans anxious about their hold on the seat if either becomes the nominee. The President's endorsement of Rep. Ron DeSantis immediately affected the GOP contest to replace Gov. Rick Scott.

History is on McSally's side, as Arizona has not elected a Democratic senator since the late 1980s.

Graham's top challengers include former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a progressive favorite endorsed by US Senator Bernie Sanders. But Democrats were in a festive mood, as results showed that voter turnout, usually damp in mid-term elections, had edged up by around 5 per cent according to Ms Felecia Rotellini, the party's state chairman. Their showdown will be one of the key races in the midterms as Democrats attempt to win an Arizona Senate seat for the first time since 1988. Will it be south Florida Democrats or panhandle Republicans who turn out in numbers closer to presidential year voting? If Putnam manages to win, he'll head into the general election with his handling of Trump leaving him exposed to critics on his left and right.

Democrats have already nominated Drew Edmondson, former state attorney general.

Sinema was long favored to win the primary and is seen as a competitive Democratic candidate in a general election that could hinge on how voters feel about Trump and his policies.

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