PHOENIX — The results of Tuesday’s Arizona primary will tee up a fall general election campaign with the highest political stakes: Control of the White House, the U.S. Senate, and Arizona’s Capitol.
The ultimate outcome of several primary races could mean significant changes in the direction of our county, state and country.
Here are five primary races, plus a wild card, worth watching:
MCSALLY’S MARGIN Senator Martha McSally is the heavy favorite against Republican primary opponent Daniel McCarthy. Any sign of McSally weakness in this race might raise more doubts among top Republicans about whether she can win the seat in November. Polls show her trailing Democrat Mark Kelly in a fall matchup by about 7 points.
ARPAIO’S LAST DANCE? Former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio has lost two elections in a row. Now the 88-year-old wants his old job back. He’ll have to beat his former top deputy Jerry Sheridan and two other candidates in the Republican primary. Democratic Sheriff Paul Penzone awaits the winner. In 2016, Penzone handed Arpaio the worst defeat of any countywide candidate.
GOP SHOWDOWN State Sen. Heather Carter of Cave Creek is one of the last moderates left in the state Capitol’s GOP caucus. She’s been a key swing vote in a closely divided Senate. Now Carter’s own Senate colleagues and leadership want her out. Carter’s primary battle against social conservative State Rep. Nancy Barto is a test of whether Republicans in the North Valley district feel the same way.
FLIP THE SIXTH? Five-term GOP Congressman David Schweikert is in serious trouble: A damning ethics investigation. A depleted campaign warchest. Whichever Democrat wins the four-way primary will have a shot at flipping the 6th Congressional District in the fall. The northeast Valley district is one of several Republican strongholds showing signs of turning purple. President Trump won CD6 by 10 points in 2016. In 2018, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema lost it by just 3.4 points to Republican Martha McSally in their U.S. Senate matchup.
PROSECUTOR PRIMARY The national debate over criminal justice reform could raise the profile of this year’s campaign for Maricopa County attorney. The winner in the three-person Democratic primary field will face Republican County Attorney Allister Adel. Adel is making her first run for office after being appointed county attorney late last year.
WILD CARD Republicans are concerned that longtime Northern Arizona lawmaker Sylvia Allen could be in jeopardy. Perennial candidate Wendy Rogers has significantly outraised Allen in their LD6 primary. A win by Rogers - who is 0 for 5 since 2010 in her bids for elected office - might tilt the general election to the Democratic candidate and help clear a path to a Democratic takeover of the state Senate.