A starry, starry night photo leads to a contest victory and a surprise for the professionals.
Flake defeats Cardon, Schweikert tops Quayle
PHOENIX (Associated Press) — Rep. Jeff Flake won the Republican nomination Tuesday for a U.S. Senate seat, while GOP voters in Arizona's 6th Congressional District picked Rep. David Schweikert over Rep. Ben Quayle after a brutal primary race.
Wil Cardon spent millions of his personal wealth to try to win the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by Sen. Jon Kyl and in the end came up well short. Many thought Cardon was behind, but early returns showed just how massive the loss was — Flake had nearly 70 percent of the statewide vote while Cardon barely topped 20 percent.
With the state's congressional seats re-carved into nine instead of eight districts following the 2010 Census, five now are centered on Phoenix — three solidly Republican, one solidly Democratic and the new District 9 a tossup. But that redistricting left Quayle and Schweikert looking at their base in the same district and led to the nasty primary fight. The final weeks of the campaign featured a bruising back-and-forth of television attack ads.
Quayle was behind by more than six percentage points with more than half the returns processed and he conceded the race. Schweikert said he spoke to Quayle and both left the tough battle behind them.
"This is big boy politics and Congressman Quayle was absolutely gracious," Schweikert said.
The 6th District includes Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and parts of Phoenix and is heavily Republican, so the primary winner will be highly favored to win the seat in November.
Democratic Rep. Ron Barber fended off a primary challenge from state Rep. Matt Heinz in southern Arizona's 2nd District. He'll face retired U.S. Air Force pilot Martha McSally, winner of the GOP primary.
In the southeast Phoenix area's 9th District, former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema beat two other Democrats and former Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker was leading a field of seven Republicans. In far eastern Maricopa County, former Rep. Matt Salmon defeated former has beaten former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams to win the Republican nomination for Arizona's 5th Congressional District.
Ann Kirkpatrick won the Democratic nomination in the 1st District and will face Republican Jonathan Paton in November. Kirkpatrick held the seat for one term before being defeated in 2010 by current Rep. Paul Gosar.
Redistricting made the 1st District more competitive, so Gosar moved west into the 4th District. He fended off a tough challenge for the Republican nomination Tuesday, beating Arizona Sen. Ron Gould.
Longtime congressmen Raul Grijalva, Trent Franks and Ed Pastor all easily won their primary races.
In other notable races, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu easily survived a four-way Republican primary and will likely face Democrat Kevin Taylor. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will face former Phoenix police officer Paul Penzone.
Updated 8/28/2012 at 10:43 p.m.