PHOENIX (AP) — The incumbent Republican governor and a Democratic Latino education professor won their parties’ respective nods in the Aug. 28 primary election for Arizona’s top office.
Gov. Doug Ducey bested former Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a more conservative GOP candidate who had little funding and campaign resources. Education professor and military veteran David Garcia beat fellow Democrats state Sen. Steve Farley and Kelly Fryer, a former CEO of the YWCA Southern Arizona.
Ducey has focused his re-election bid on border security and job creation, promoting a new law enforcement collaboration effort called the Border Strike Force. In a statement, Ducey touted increases to public education funding and job increases from his first term in office.
“We’ve delivered substantive reforms and made real progress these last three years in order to improve our state,” he said.
Garcia emerged over the summer in the three-way Democratic race. The fourth-generation Arizona resident is a professor at the education school at Arizona State University.
He supports the Invest in Education Act, a proposal that would increase income taxes on Arizona’s wealthiest residents to provide more money for schools.
He also has promised to pull back the National Guard troops Ducey sent to the southern border at President Donald Trump’s request. Ducey has argued their presence combats drug smuggling and other illegal activity along the international boundary.
Now that the primary is over, both parties are poised to funnel millions into November’s general election.
Wendy Rogers will face unopposed Tom O’Halleran in Dist. 1 house race
Retired Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers defeated Steve Smith and Tiffany Shedd in the Republican primary o represent Arizona’s District 1 in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rogers received 52.46 percent of the vote, followed by Smith at 32.13 percent and Shedd with 15.08 percent.
The seat covers a large portion of Arizona, including the Navajo Nation, Flagstaff and suburbs north of Tucson.
Rogers spent 20 years in active duty and started a small business when she retired in 1996. She lives in Flagstaff.
Rogers will face Democrat Tom O’Halleran in the Nov. 6 general election. O’Halleran, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, is a former homicide detective and small business owner. He has served three terms in the Arizona house and one term in the state senate. He lives in unincorporated Yavapai County.
Martha McSally, Kyrsten Sinema to vie for retiring Flake’s Senate seat
Rep. Martha McSally won the Republican nomination for Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, setting up a November contest with Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
Republicans picked the candidate backed by the party establishment and seen by analysts as the GOP’s best chance at holding the open seat in what is shaping up to be a difficult election for the party.
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.
McSally and Sinema both want the seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.
The seat is considered a key pickup for Democrats in their bid to take control of the chamber, meaning the general election will be among the closest-watched Senate races in the nation between now and November. Television ads have already bombarded Arizona residents throughout the summer months, and a competitive general election is likely to draw in millions of dollars in outside spending for television ads and other campaigning.
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. If she’s victorious, Democrats could pick up an Arizona Senate seat for the first time since Dennis DiConcini left office in 1995.
In a state whose electoral votes went to Trump, the Republican nominee could use voters’ support for the president to their advantage. McSally, Ward and Arpaio all campaigned on their various connections to Trump during the primary. The Republican candidates also distanced themselves from the ailing McCain, who died after most ballots had already been cast by early voters.
A Democratic victory in the Senate race could suggest the state could be up for grabs in 2020. Bill Clinton was the last Democratic presidential nominee to carry Arizona in 1996.
Associated Press writers Melissa Daniels, Nicolas Riccardi and Terry Tang contributed to this report.