Martha McSally wins Arizona Republican Senate primary

Martha McSally wins Arizona Republican Senate primary

Polls closed in Arizona on Tuesday, where Republicans on Tuesday will decide a three-way battle over which candidate to nominate to replace the state's junior U.S. Senator, who is retiring because he has no political future after criticizing President Trump.

Ms McSally who will be contesting a seat left by retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, pitched into her November rival straight away, signalling a bruising fight ahead as Republicans take on a Democrat Party determined to finally flip the state on the back of an energised base. Trump did not formally endorse anyone in the race, although he had praised all the Republican candidates in the past. But his more moderate stance on immigration and his deciding vote a year ago against Trump's efforts to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law turned off many GOP voters.

But, adds Arpaio, Trump is a hero for sure.

McSally is seen as a stronger general election candidate than either Ward or Arpaio, both hard-line conservatives. Such a scenario could leave McSally in a weak position heading into a general election campaign against the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema. 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.

The problem for Putnam may be that in 2016, he was among the many Republican establishment figures who expressed reservations about Trump publicly.

McSally began her victory speech with a moment of silence for McCain.

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

There are more than a half-dozen competitive Florida House races that will choose nominees, too.

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In a year where Senate Democrats are playing defense, the Arizona seat offers a rare pickup opportunity that could help them maintain the status quo of a narrowly divided Senate or even tip them into the majority.

Representative Martha McSally speaks during her primary night gathering on August 28, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona.

The primary also is expected to cement a heavyweight Senate matchup in November pitting Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson against two-term Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who has held elected office in Florida since 1996, quickly built up establishment support and raised millions of dollars. Graham's daughter, former Rep. Gwen Graham, is on the ballot this year and has been polling favorably leading up to the primary.

The Republican victor will face whoever emerges from a crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary field led by moderate former US Representative Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and US senator.

"There's a pink wave building alongside Florida's blue wave", Graham, who would be Florida's first female governor, told supporters in Sarasota Monday. "This is going to be a hard-fought general election", Flake said. 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.

"This is how I see this campaign", McSally said. "It's up to all of us to follow his lead of always putting country over party", the Democrat said. "And I'm a gun owner". Cornett is running on his government experience, while Stitt has campaigned as the outsider, self-funding his campaign and hitting Cornett for not supporting Trump enough.

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