The nation's eyes are on Arizona and its hotly contested U.S. Senate race, seen as a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats fighting to retake control of the chamber and challenge President Donald Trump's agenda on everything from illegal immigration to taxes and trade. Jeff Flake and the latter's early retirement, the race had also represented a simmering battle of ideologies within the Republican Party: Could Trumpism be replicated successfully?
Many political observers predicted McSally would emerge as the nominee with Ward and Arpaio splitting up the state's most conservative voters. Lane FlakeGillum wins stunner and other takeaways from Arizona, Florida McSally prevails in nasty Arizona GOP Senate primary Arizona Gov. Ducey to face Democratic educator in November MORE (R) on Wednesday following Rep. Trump did not formally endorse anyone in the race, although he had praised all the Republican candidates in the past. DeSantis is riding the wave of the Trump endorsement with a smaller ground game than his top rival, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.
Arpaio, who was pardoned by Trump a year ago after being found in criminal contempt of court for continuing his immigration sweeps for 17 months after a judge ordered him to stop, found himself embroiled in a new batch of controversy.
"It's a choice between a doer and a talker, between a patriot and a protester, between a career fighter pilot and a career politician", Ms McSally said to loud cheers at the Republicans' own election watch party.
Trump has not endorsed any of the three Republicans. The party had been deeply anxious that former state senator Kelli Ward would win the primary, after a freaky campaign in which she repeatedly disparaged a dying Sen. When McCain's family said last week that he was discontinuing medical treatment, Ward speculated in a later-deleted Facebook post that the announcement was meant to hurt her campaign for Flake's seat.
The seat is being vacated by incumbent Sen.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who must name a replacement to fill McCain's seat for the next two years, will closely watch the contest.
The races in Arizona and Florida in particular have garnered national attention.
Polls have shown a close race. Voters participating in Florida's primary will tap nominees for governor, a position that will give the winner's party an advantage in a key political battleground heading into the 2020 presidential campaign.
Trump yesterday reiterated his support for DeSantis in a tweet.
Beyond checking the winners, primaries in Arizona and Florida will offer political observers plenty of data to plow through. 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.
More than 1.9mn Florida voters have already cast absentee ballots or voted early, according to the state's Division of Elections, surpassing early voting in state primaries in 2014 and 2016.
A woman will serve as U.S. Senator for the first time in Arizona's 106-year history. A united Democratic Party in Florida is vital to break the nearly two decades-long GOP rule in Tallahassee, and with at least seven Republican-held congressional districts at play to flip, control of Congress may hinge on it as well. "This is going to be a hard-fought general election", Flake said.
Democrats have already nominated Drew Edmondson, former state attorney general.
With the hard primary finally behind her, McSally turned her attention to Sinema at her election night party, lobbing Trump-style attacks.