Takeaways From the Florida and Arizona Primaries


They all ran towards President Donald Trump, in a sign of his hold over Republican voters. That has led McSally's very Trumpian opponents - former state Sen.

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Establishment choice Rep. Martha McSally fended off challenges from two conservative insurgents to become the Republican nominee to fill retiring Sen.

In the end, Ward split the Trumpian vote with former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, and McSally sailed to victory with an enormous fundraising advantage.

The results could be mixed.

Many political observers predicted McSally would emerge as the nominee with Ward and Arpaio splitting up the state's most conservative voters.

"Independent, unaffiliated voters have a generally negative view of the president, and that's the audience McSally is going to have to appeal to", said Paul Bentz, a veteran Arizona Republican political consultant not involved in the campaign. Arizona has never elected a woman to the Senate.

The primary highlighted the delicate dance for many Republicans running in tough elections this year, given Trump's sky-high approval ratings among voters of his own party: criticizing Trump too harshly risks losing the Republican base, while embracing him too warmly could alienate moderate voters who disapprove of his performance.

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But the race to embrace the polarizing Trump could make it harder in November for the Republican victor. The overwhelming favorite is Rep. Martha McSally, a onetime Trump critic from a swing district who's touted her growing bond with the president at every turn. Putnam is the candidate of the state's Republican establishment. On the Republican side, DeSantis hopes an endorsement from Trump will outweigh Putnam's attacks on DeSantis as an out-of-touch creature of Washington.

Nelson's seat is vital in the battle for Senate control; both he and GOP Gov. Rick Scott are expected to skate through the primary to the general.

In another set of primaries in Florida, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who has called for Mr Trump to be impeached, won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

With no runoff required, the victor will immediately have to shore up support within the party. On the Republican side, the endorsement from the Miami Herald could propel former Doral councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, who claims to have been abducted by aliens, to a stronger-than expected finish as she and several other Republicans try to catch front-runner Maria Elvira Salazar, a former TV reporter. Jeff Flake in Arizona will produce a first this November no matter which party wins.

That measure is a useful way to assess which party is more excited about a midterm election, and it's particularly useful in Florida because the state limits primaries only to voters registered by party.

Weekend events could cast a pall over contests in both states, though.

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. At FiveThirtyEight, Nathaniel Rakich says, correctly I think, that Democrats may be hurting in the general election if Gillum takes down Graham.

Runoff primary races in Oklahoma don't normally get a lot of attention, but the Sooner State could be see a big victory for Democrats this year.