A blockbuster primary in Florida and three-way fight in Arizona

Henrietta Brewer
August 29, 2018

She's played up her allegiance to Trump but faces two outspoken conservative opponents: Former state Sen.

Dr Tipirneni, 50, who was born in Mumbai but came to the U.S. at the age of three, shot to prominence when, in a special election in April to replace a Republican who resigned after a scandal, she contested as a complete unknown but came very close to defeating her Republican rival Ms Debbie Lesko, whom she will face again in November.

The president has dominated the race to replace Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.

Martha McSally beat back two conservative hardliners on Tuesday night, securing the Republican nomination in the state's hotly contested upcoming Senate race.

While Ward and Arpaio had trumpeted their hardline stances on immigration and their support for their president throughout the race, McSally had drawn comparisons to the more moderate, recently deceased Arizona Sen.


Arizona is one of three states holding elections Tuesday.

They all ran towards President Donald Trump, in a sign of his hold over Republican voters.

Trump has weighed in for Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican primary, complete with a campaign rally and the requisite tweeting. If she's victorious, Democrats could pick up an Arizona Senate seat for the first time since Dennis DiConcini left office in 1995.

In the end, Ward split the Trumpian vote with former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, and McSally sailed to victory with an enormous fundraising advantage.

Arizona is a top pickup opportunity for Senate Democrats in a cycle where they're largely on defense. Will it be south Florida Democrats or panhandle Republicans who turn out in numbers closer to presidential year voting?


Trump spared Arpaio a possible jail sentence past year by pardoning his federal conviction stemming from his immigration patrols. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott is all but set, and the biggest intrigue tonight is who will face off to succeed the outgoing governor. But Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the favorite of the in-state GOP establishment, has done his best Trump impression, with broadsides against "fake news" and dubbing himself an "NRA sellout".

"I have hopes that he'll stand up against the NRA and do what voters need", Roman, a lawyer, said. On the Republican side, DeSantis hopes an endorsement from Trump will outweigh Putnam's attacks on DeSantis as an out-of-touch creature of Washington.

The Democratic gubernatorial field is the most crowded since 1978, the year Bob Graham eventually won the governor's race. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum could become the state's first black governor, and either former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine or billionaire Jeff Greene could be the state's second Jewish governor.

Democrats already have nominated Drew Edmondson, a former state attorney general, and national Democrats believe he has the profile to wage a competitive race against Stitt. "It's up to all of us to follow his lead of always putting country over party", the Democrat said.

Democrats are hoping the GOP electorate's rightward march and embrace of outsiders result in a runoff win for Tulsa mortgage company owner Kevin Stitt over former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.


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