Arizona’s primary on Aug. 2 offers one of the longest lists of competitive contests of any state on the 2022 primary calendar.
Voters will determine which of several conservative Republicans will take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, while both Democrats and Republicans will hold hotly contested, intra-party contests to determine their nominees for governor and secretary of state. In many cases, the ideological distance between the potential nominees is enormous.
All this is occurring in a state that narrowly backed Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election, and where allies of former President Donald Trump focused their efforts on trying to overturn the results.
Here’s a rundown of the key primary contests.
The GOP has a large field of candidates vying to take on the well-funded Kelly, a former astronaut whose reelection is crucial if the Democrats are to keep their narrow Senate majority.
The most prominent candidates are venture capitalist Blake Masters and businessman and Army veteran Jim Lamon. Also running in the GOP primary are Attorney General Mark Brnovich, former state adjutant general Mick McGuire, and state corporation commissioner Justin Olson.
Masters, 35, is attracting the most attention, due to his endorsement from Trump, his long association with conservative venture capitalist Peter Thiel, and controversial comments both during his youth (such as criticizing U.S. involvement in World War II) and during the campaign.
But other candidates have also run considerably to the right in the primary, notably Lamon, who has urged rescinding visas to Chinese nationals. And Masters and Lamon have echoed Trump’s debunked election-fraud claims.
In a year when Democrats nationally will be on defense amid high inflation and the unpopularity of President Joe Biden, the general election is expected to be competitive.
After eight years in office, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is term-limited. Both parties have competitive primaries.
On the Republican side, the race is seen as a two-candidate contest between Kari Lake, a former news anchor, and Karrin Taylor Robson, a real estate developer and state university regent. Their faceoff breaks down clearly into a Trump vs. establishment Republican dynamic, with Trump backing Lake and Ducey and former Vice President Mike Pence supporting Robson.
Lake is allied with Trump in casting doubt on the validity of the 2020 election, and she accuses Robson of being a RINO (Republican in Name Only) for not joining her in those beliefs. Robson, meanwhile, says that Lake is a hypocrite, saying Lake has attacked “woke gender activists” and drag queens even though she had referred to drag queens sympathetically when she was a journalist.
Still, analysts see Robson as running further to the right than she may have wanted to, in order to compete for Republican base voters in the primary, an approach that could hurt her in the general election.
A third prominent Republican, former Rep. Matt Salmon, dropped out of the race and endorsed Robson, but he pulled out too late to be removed from the ballot, and this might end up draining anti-Lake votes from Robson.
The Democrats also have a primary, although Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is seen as having an edge. Hobbs was active in trying to counter GOP claims of election rigging in 2022, and she has sought to leverage voter discomfort with the Supreme Court’s overruling of the abortion decision Roe v. Wade, a strategy that could also help her in the general election, when she’ll need to court independents and moderate Republicans.
However, Hobbs has taken some hits for her actions in a racial and sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by a former state Senate staffer, Talonya Adams.
Hobbs faces Marco Lopez, the former mayor of Nogales who was initially elected to the post at 22. Lopez also headed the Arizona Department of Commerce under then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, and he worked for Customs and Border Protection when Napolitano was secretary of Homeland Security.
The gubernatorial race is expected to be competitive in the fall.
With Hobbs running for governor, Arizona – where a months-long election “audit” in populous Maricopa County was pushed by Trump allies – has an open-seat race for secretary of state, the position whose duties include election oversight.
On the GOP side, each of the four contenders are aligned with Trump to one extent or another.
Trump has endorsed state Rep. Mark Finchem, who has advocated banning early voting, a method widely used in Arizona, as well as backing a mandate that all ballots be counted by hand. Also running are state Rep. Shawnna Bolick, who joins Finchem in having said she would not have certified the 2020 election if she had been in office at the time; state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who supported the Maricopa “audit;” and advertising executive Beau Lane.
Of the four Republicans, Lane is the most moderate; late in the race, Ducey endorsed him, joining previous endorsements by former Arizona Republican governors Jan Brewer and J. Fife Symington. The final OH Predictive Insights poll had Finchem with 32%, Lane with 11% and 45% undecided.
Meanwhile, two Democrats are seeking the nomination: state Rep. Reginald Bolding, the current House Minority Leader, and Adrian Fontes, the former county recorder for Maricopa County. Fontes lost his reelection bid in 2020 following a tenure in which he was stopped by the courts for trying to send out an early ballot to every registered Democrat. Bolding, meanwhile, has been hit by a complaint alleging that he may have illegally coordinated his campaign with a nonprofit he founded.
Whoever wins the two primaries, the contest is expected to be competitive in November.
The post of attorney general is also open, due to Brnovich’s decision to run for Senate. But only the Republicans have a contested primary.
The GOP candidates are retired state Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould; former federal prosecutor Lacy Cooper; manufacturing executive Dawn Grove; former Tucson City Council member Rodney Glassman; and attorneys Abe Hamadeh and Tiffany Shedd.
Hamadeh has been endorsed by Trump. All of the candidates have spotlighted border-security issues and have taken anti-abortion positions. The final OH Predictive Insights poll had Hamadeh in first with 31%, followed by Glassman with 16% and 35% undecided.
On the Democratic side, the nominee will be former state corporation commission member Kris Mayes. The race in November is expected to be competitive.
Incumbent treasurer Kimberly Yee, a Republican who was the first Asian American to win statewide office in Arizona, dropped out of the gubernatorial race to seek reelection to her current post. She is being challenged by two Republicans in the primary: former state Republican Party treasurer Bob Lettieri and state Rep. Jeff Weninger.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Martin Quezada does not have any opposition for the nomination.
Superintendent of public instruction
In this race, Democrat Kathy Hoffman is the incumbent. Republicans have a three-way primary for the nomination between former Attorney General Tom Horne, parental rights advocate Shiry Sapir, and teacher and state Rep. Michelle Udall.
In this GOP-leaning district in the Phoenix metro area, incumbent Republican Rep. David Schweikert is running again despite having been slapped by the House for multiple ethics violations. Those violations have drawn a Republican primary challenge from financial executive Elijah Norton, who reported having more than five times the amount of money in the bank at the end of June as the incumbent had. Their primary battle has been punctuated by insinuations from the Schweikert camp that Norton is gay; these, in turn, have resulted in a defamation lawsuit.
Meanwhile, several Democrats are seeking the nomination. The two most prominent are Jevin Hodge and Adam Metzendorf, both of whom have business backgrounds and similar policy profiles.
This sprawling northern Arizona district is currently represented by moderate Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran, but its lines were heavily reshuffled during redistricting and it is now more favorable to the GOP than it had been.
This has brought a large field of Republican candidates into the primary. Three candidates reported six-figure war chests at the end of June: state Rep. and veteran Walt Blackman, businessman and former Navy SEAL Eli Crane, and business consultant Mark DeLuzio.
Trump has endorsed Crane, while former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has backed DeLuzio. Meanwhile, Blackman is the first Black Republican to serve in the Arizona legislature.
O’Halleran has the most money in the bank, with more than $2 million. This race is expected to be highly competitive in November, with the district’s new iteration suggesting a slight GOP edge.
Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton is running for reelection in a Phoenix-based district that was made more electorally competitive during redistricting. This has brought out a large field of GOP hopefuls.
Two Republican candidates reported six-figure war chests at the end of June: Tanya Wheeless, a former Phoenix Suns executive and state bankers’ association CEO, and restaurant owner Kelly Cooper. Another candidate is Chandler City Councilman and Navy veteran Rene Lopez.
But the biggest splash has come from former pro football player and pastor Jerone Davison, who released a digital ad in which Davison, who is Black, touts the need for AR-15s for self-defense by portraying himself under attack by Klan-hooded intruders with Democratic donkeys on their robes.
In November, Stanton would be the frontrunner, but the race is considered competitive.
This Tucson-based district is coming open after the retirement of Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick; the district has become more Republican during redistricting.
The two leading Democrats running in the primary are former state Sen. Kirsten Engel, who has almost $445,000 in the bank, and state Rep. Daniel Hernandez, who has more than $232,000 in the bank. Hernandez was an intern with then-Rep. Gabby Giffords and was with her when she was shot and seriously wounded at a public event.
On the GOP side, former Ducey aide and former Hispanic Chamber of Commerce official Juan Ciscomani is considered the frontrunner. He has $538,000 in the bank and has the support of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Also running are former TV personality Kathleen Winn, Air Force veteran Young Mayberry, Army Veteran Brandon Martin, and the most moderate candidate, newspaper publisher Lucretia Free.
In this solidly Republican district that runs from western Arizona to the Phoenix suburbs, incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar – a controversial figure with ties to the Jan. 6 insurrection – is facing primary challenges from technology executive and Army veteran Adam Morgan, former congressional aide and Marine veteran Randy Kutz, and former Maricopa County school superintendent Sandra Dowling.
As they have done in the past, several of Gosar’s siblings have come out publicly against his reelection, this time choosing to endorse Morgan. Gosar has just over $100,000 in the bank, a relatively small amount for a House incumbent.