U.S. Reps. Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona won Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primaries in the state, and will face off in November to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.
In the Republican primary, McSally defeated former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. On the Democratic side, Sinema defeated attorney Deedra Abboud.
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.
McSally, a former Air Force colonel considered the favorite of the Washington establishment, played up her allegiance to President Trump while competing against two outspoken conservative contenders: Ward, who had lost to the late Sen. John McCain in a 2016 primary, and Arpaio, the immigration proponent pardoned by Trump last year after being convicted of criminal contempt of court.
Trump, who notably has supported a series of candidates in recent months, stayed away from any Arizona endorsements.
As Ward and Arpaio seemingly fought to determine the stronger conservative option to McSally, analysts say they may have ultimately assisted the congresswoman, who largely stayed out of the fray.
“If Sheriff Joe was not in the race Kelli Ward would beat Martha McSally by 20 points,” said Eric Beach, a strategist for Ward, as the Washington Times reported.
McCain, 81, died last Saturday after a battle with brain cancer. Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has not yet appointed a successor.
Ducey, meantime, is being projected by Fox News to keep his reelection hopes alive by defeating former Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett in the Republican primary.
He is set to face off against one of three Democrats: professor David Garcia, state senator Steve Farley or former minister Kelly Fryer. It was too early to project a winner in either race by the time polls closed.
Earlier Tuesday, officials in the state admitted that problems with voting machines in a series of polling sites temporarily stopped people from being able to cast ballots. A spokesman for Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes told Fox News on Tuesday afternoon that “all polling locations dealing with technical issues this morning have been fixed.”
The contractor hired to set up voting machines in the Phoenix area apparently failed to send enough technicians, leaving several polling places out of operation. The contractor was identified as Insight Enterprises of Tempe, the Arizona Republic reported.
Fontes says he sent his staff to as many locations as possible to make fixes. There were discussions of extending voting times past the 7 p.m. deadline but polls ultimately closed as planned.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Fox News’ Alex Pappas and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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