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Arizona primary yields few upsets, possible return of some familiar faces

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio aims to regain his badge.

(The Center Square) – Millions of Arizonans cast ballots, mainly from home, for the state’s primary election Tuesday, with most incumbents and odds-on favorites winning their respective races, but not every race is finalized.

Voters cast 2,431,029 ballots in the weeks culminating Tuesday in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county and the nation’s fourth-most populous. Fewer voted in person this year, with COVID-19 fears likely to blame, but mail-in and early voting ballot counts were higher than 2018.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally easily defeated Daniel McCarthy in her primary race. She’ll go on to face Democrat Mark Kelly in November.

Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni won a highly contested race against Anita Malik, Karl Gentles and Stephanie Rimmer for a chance to face Rep. David Schweikert, R-Fountain Hills. Schweikert spent years fighting an ethics investigation involving improper campaign spending, but the 6th Congressional District leans Republican.

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who cost county taxpayers millions of dollars defending him against several civil lawsuits during his previous terms in office and needing a presidential pardon after a contempt of court conviction, is tied with former Maricopa County Deputy Chief Jerry Sheridan.

On Wednesday morning, Sheridan had 134,389 votes to Arpaio’s 133,817.

In the race for Maricopa County treasurer, incumbent Royce T. Flora was unseated by former House Majority leader John Allen.

Julie Gunnigle, seen as the more moderate candidate for Maricopa County attorney, won her primary bid.

At the state legislative level, most incumbents scored predictable victories with a few exceptions. The race for the Republican-leaning LD15 Senate seat saw heavy spending and some political potshots between incumbent Heather Carter and the more conservative Nancy Barto. As of Wednesday morning, Barto appears to have unseated the moderate incumbent.

Arizona Democrats aim to control the state House and Senate, both controlled by narrow Republican majorities.

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