The primary election is now behind us, so now partisan candidates from the Americans Elect, Democratic, Libertarian, Republican parties and independent candidates will vie for the ever-important moderates who decide general elections.
In the statewide primary, Arizona Rep. Andy Tobin [R-District 1] narrowly defeated his two opponents, Gary Kiehne and Adam Kwasman to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1] for her congressional seat. Tobin’s victory was aided in part by the embarrassing gaffes Kiehne and Kwasman made during the campaign. The question is whether Tobin can mount a serious challenge in a district that has fluctuated between Republican and Democrat for the past few election cycles.
Republican businessman Doug Ducey handily defeated his opponents in a hard-fought, often nasty campaign for the gubernatorial nomination. After Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer came out in support of his opponent, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Ducey tried legal means to prevent Brewer from spending money from her political action committee, Arizona’s Legacy, to support Smith. The move devolved into name-calling and accusations of illegal collusion, but when the poll results came in, Brewer appeared at Ducey’s victory rally to back her newly found victorious ally. Whether Brewer’s support is legitimate or merely toeing the party line remains to be seen.
Voters must now judge whether Ducey will emerge from the primary more wounded or battle-worn as he tries to move to the center and court independents. The onus is on Democratic businessman Fred DuVal, who won quietly unopposed, to see if he can gain enough momentum in the next few months to win the governor’s seat over Ducey.
Two incumbent state officers lost their primaries due in large part to their controversial personal behavior.
Incumbent Attorney General Tom Horne, who endured lawsuits for illegal campaign activity and leaving the scene of a car accident, lost the Republican nomination to Mark Brnovich, who now faces the strong campaign of Felecia Rotellini, a longtime Democratic leader in the state.
Likewise, incumbent School Superintendent John Huppenthal, facing criticism from both sides of the aisle for anonymous, controversial and historically inaccurate blog posts, lost to Republican challenger Diane Douglas. Meanwhile David Garcia defeated his challenger Sharon Thomas for the Democratic nomination.
With both Horne and Huppenthal out, voters can chose between candidates based on their platforms rather than their scandals.
There will be a lull in campaigning as all the camps reorganize, but we hope voters let their voices be heard in November.
Democracy only functions if we participate in it.