They’re calling it the “sunbelt primary” with respect to the warm, southern states represented in the primary races taking place today. There are several crucial races in Arizona where candidates will be selected for governor, senate, and several congressional races. Florida also has several primaries which will be important for the prospects of both parties come November. Here’s a preview of the action going down today with some of the story lines from each race.
Arizona (Governor, Senate, Congressional)
President Trump has waded into the Republican primary, offering his endorsement for the sitting Governor:
President Trump endorsed Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ahead of the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday.
“Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona is doing a great job. It would be really nice to show your support tomorrow by voting for him in Tuesdays Primary,” Trump tweeted. “Doug is strong on Crime, the Border, and our Second Amendment. Loves our Military & our Vets. He has my full and complete Endorsement.”
Ducey is facing a primary challenge from former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, but is expected to win the GOP nomination on Tuesday.
The Arizona Senate primary is for the open seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican. Democrats are hoping to “flip” this seat into their column, and the prospects of that may depend on the outcome of the GOP primary:
Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is competing against two conservative firebrands — former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio — in a primary that has threatened to divide the state’s conservative base.
Trump has so far stayed out of the Arizona GOP Senate primary, but the candidates have raced to tie themselves to the president. McSally is considered the front-runner, but challenges from Ward and Arpaio have pushed her to the right, particularly on issues like immigration and her support for Trump.
The winner is expected to face presumed Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) in November. Sinema faces little primary opposition, allowing her to focus on the general election to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R).
There are two Congressional primaries as well, namely in Arizona’s First and Second Congressional Districts where Republicans and Democrats are each picking candidates for November’s ballot.
Check this page from the Arizona Secretary of State for a complete list of all primary races and candidates, including lower-level state primaries.
Polls close in Arizona at 7pm MT (9pm ET).
Florida (Governor, Senate, Congressional)
Florida, similar to Arizona, features a primary for the Governor’s race as well as for a Senate race and a slate of Congressional races. The current Governor, Republican Rick Scott, is term-limited, which has created an open seat and a flurry of candidates on both sides vying for their party’s nomination. Here’s a rundown on this race from the Miami Herald:
From Jacksonville to Miami, five Democrats and two Republicans are putting thousands of miles on their campaign coaches this weekend, scouring the state in search of the undecided. Perhaps more than half of the total ballots in the primary election already have been cast, but every vote matters in the scrum for political survival.
On the right, Trump-endorsed Congressman Ron DeSantis is expected to prevail over Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, but a dicey week for the president could add a hint of doubt for the front-runner. On the left, a jumble remains atop the crowded field, with former Congresswoman Gwen Graham hoping to beat out Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene, Winter Park businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.
As noted, Gov. Rick Scott’s tenure as Governor is over, but that doesn’t stop him from running for Senate, which he intends to do against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Scott is not being seriously challenged by any other Republicans so his nomination for Senate candidate is all-but assured.
There are a total of eight Florida Congressional primaries which include races in the 6th, 7th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 25th, 26th and 27th districts.
Polls in Florida close tonight at 7pm ET.
The Oklahoma Democratic primary for the Goveror’s race has already been decided, but two Republicans are facing each other in a runoff election, according to Vox:
Current Republican incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin is term-limited. Cornett and Stitt emerged out of a crowded, 10-person primary to replace her, but they will first compete in a Tuesday runoff. Fallin is pretty unpopular, given her botched oversight of the state budget, which resulted in drastic cuts to public school funding. Oklahoma is one of the states that saw teacher strikes protesting low pay and spending cuts.
Whoever wins on Tuesday will face Edmondson, the scion of an Oklahoma political family. The Democrat unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2010 and is trying again. He easily clinched the Democratic nomination but will face a much tougher battle in the general election, given how Republican the state is. Cook rates this race Solid Republican.
Polls close in Oklahoma at 7pm CT (8pm ET).