[Editor’s Note: You can find complete DDHQ top line and county results for tonight’s elections here]
August 28th is our final big day of multi state primaries of the 2018 cycle. Arizona and Florida will have primaries, while Oklahoma has runoffs. As Matt Isbell will have Florida results covered, here are some of the races in Arizona and Oklahoma that I’ll be following:
The contest in Arizona that as received the most attention is for the open Senate seat. After a single-term, Sen. Jeff Flake (R) is retiring. The frontrunner for this race is Rep. Martha McSally, who represents the Tucson-area AZ-02. McSally is generally considered a mainstream conservative, and has held her House seat since 2014. Also running are two more Trump-ish candidates: ex-State Sen. Kelli Ward and ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio. Both would be considerably less electable than McSally in the fall against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (the likely Democratic nominee).
This is Ward’s second run for Senate in two cycles. In 2016, she challenged the late Sen. John McCain in the primary, but lost by 11%. She carried the area she represented in the State Senate (in the northwestern corner of the state), but bombed in the state’s most populous county, Maricopa, which went to McCain by 18%:
Arpaio, who generally polls behind McSally and Ward, was the sheriff of Maricopa County from 1993 until he was ousted in 2016 – after years worth of controversies. He lost his job by 13% to Paul Penzone (D), even as the President carried the county by 3%. In that election, 1/4 of precincts supported Trump but voted against Arpaio. Needless to say, this would not bode well for his electability, in the unlikely event he wins the primary:
As far as other statewide races, both sides have primaries for Governor. On the GOP side, Gov. Doug Ducey has a challenge from ex-SOS Ken Bennett. This is actually something of a rematch of 2014, when both ran in a crowded open primary. Ducey finished a clear first, with 37%, while Bennett placed fourth, with just 11%. Overall, there doesn’t seem to be much of an appetite among Republicans to replace Ducey, so he should win the primary fairly comfortably.
On the Democratic side, 2014 Superintendent of Public Instruction nominee David Garcia seems like a slight favorite over State Sen. Steve Farley. Farley represents a district in the Tucson area. In 2014, Garcia almost became the first Democrat to win in Arizona since 2006. He narrowly lost his race while, further up the ballot, Ducey won the Gubernatorial race by 12%. Notably, Garcia carried Maricopa County, which tends to lean slightly right of the state:
The most interesting House primary is in AZ-02, the seat Rep. McSally is vacating to run for Senate. Seven Democrats are running for this seat, but the two main candidates are 2014 nominee Matt Heinz and former Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick previously represented AZ-01, just north of the district, for three terms before unsuccessfully running for Senate in 2016. While this could be considered ‘carpetbagging’, Kirkpatrick did represent parts of Pima County in her old district. Heinz is making his third run at this seat, and previously served in the legislature.
Lea Marquez-Peterson, a businesswoman, is the likely Republican nominee. While she’s a credible candidate, the GOP could have trouble holding this seat without McSally. AZ-02 was one of 25 districts that voted for Clinton but elected a Republican to Congress in 2016. McSally was particularity strong in that she carried almost as many Clinton precincts (47) as Heinz did (51):
Finally, in Oklahoma, the most high-profile contest is the Republican Gubernatorial runoff. Former Oklahoma City Mick Cornett was a popular mayor of the state’s most populous city, from 2004 to 2018. Cornett finished with 29% in the June primary. Businessman Kevin Stitt secured second place in the crowded primary, thanks to some notable self-funding; Stitt’s base was mostly around Tulsa:
Polling since the runoff has shown a very close race; it seems to be largely a question of how the rural areas, that voted for Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, break. In the general election, Cornett typically posts slight leads over the Democratic nominee, Drew Edmondson, while Stitt is somewhat behind.