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

Posted August 30, 2018

While McSally, a two-term congresswoman and former combat fighter pilot, had the strongest resume, she failed in this regard.

Arizona is a top pickup opportunity for Senate Democrats in a cycle where they're largely on defense.

Now McSally will face Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, a fellow USA representative who easily won her primary, in the race to fill the seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake. Jeff Flake's seat, just days after the state's other senator, John McCain, died.

Arpaio, a former six-term sheriff of Maricopa County who'd never lost a GOP primary, was in third place.

Dr Tipirneni, 50, who was born in Mumbai but came to the USA 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.

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If she wins, she'll be the first bisexual U.S. Senator. But 2018 would be a disastrous year for the GOP to end the streak, with partisan control of the Senate likely to hang in the balance. But as Trump kept his campaign promises and began to implement his policies, McSally moved to align her votes with him.

Without wasting much time, Flake replied to Trump on Twitter, saying his claim about an attempted endorsement was false.

"He's always been someone who's encouraged participation in politics, especially in the Republican Party, with minorities and women", McCain's aide and close friend Rick Davis said during a news conference, according to the local Arizona Central.

"The entire campaign has been defined by the effort to show who is the better, more enthusiastic supporter of the president", said Stan Barnes, a veteran Republican strategist in Arizona. The state voted for Trump by 3.5 percentage points in 2016, but Democrats are buoyed both by its rapidly diversifying electorate and by a national political environment favoring their candidates.

In Arizona, Republicans nominated U.S. Representative Martha McSally, an establishment favorite, in a three-way Senate primary that became a battle to prove who was most loyal to Trump.

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Arizona is one of three states holding elections Tuesday.

Trump's post-midnight tweet came after Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) was declared the victor in a hard-fought GOP primary to replace Flake, a frequent Trump critic who decided not to seek reelection this year amid lackluster polling numbers. Graham's daughter, former Rep. Gwen Graham, is on the ballot this year and has been polling favorably leading up to the primary.

In Oklahoma, the race for governor between former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and businessman Kevin Stitt could hinge on which candidate voters believe is more loyal to Trump.

Another openly LGBT candidate won her primary bid Tuesday night for a seat in Congress, bringing to 12 the number of LGBT candidates for the U.S. House this year.

Sinema, a former Green Party member, has undergone her own political shift toward the middle over the years, joining the "Blue Dog Coalition" of moderate Democrats after winning her seat in 2012 and voting against Democrat Nancy Pelosi's re-election as minority leader in 2016.

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