Big Arizona Voter Turnout Brings Slow Results, Few Surprises

By Ben Giles, Heather van Blokland, Steve Goldstein, Lauren Gilger
Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, August 4, 2020 - 6:50pm
Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 12:59pm

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Voting sticker
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Arizona voters turned out in near-record numbers on Aug. 4, 2020.

Latest Results From Maricopa County Recorder's Office

Wednesday, 9:20 a.m.

KJZZ’s Ben Giles and Jeremy Duda from the Arizona Mirror joined The Show to discuss the primary results in Maricopa County and across Arizona. The Show also spoke with Paul Bentz of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants about Tuesday's high turnout and what we can expect to see in November.

Wednesday, 9:02 a.m.

Hiral Tipirneni
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Hiral Tipirneni in 2018.

Democrats in the GOP-leaning, Scottsdale-centered 6th Congressional District chose Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who defeated her three primary opponents comfortably with more than 50% of the vote.

This is the third time Tipirneni has been a congressional nominee, but the other two were in a different district where she lost to Congresswoman Debbie Lesko.

Tipirneni will challenge incumbent David Schweikert in November.

Last week, Schweikert admitted to 11 ethics violations — including campaign finance errors and requiring staff to perform campaign work. In addition to an official U.S. House reprimand, Schweikert was fined $50,000.

Wednesday, 8:48 a.m.

Heather Carter (left) and Nancy Barto
KJZZ News
Heather Carter (left) and Nancy Barto.

Results are still pending as vote counts trickle in, but it appears that a handful of incumbent legislators may be upset in their Republican primaries.

Longtime lawmaker Sylvia Allen was defeated handily by Wendy Rogers, a retired Air Force pilot running for state Senate in Legislative District 6.

In north Phoenix, Nancy Barto has a growing lead over incumbent Heather Carter. The Senate primary in District 15 pitted two sitting lawmakers against one another.

In Scottsdale, incumbent Jay Lawrence is trailing in a three-way race for two nominations for District 23’s House seats. He’s behind fellow incumbent John Kavanagh and challenger Joseph Chaplik.

And in District 8, Sen. Frank Pratt is running for a seat in the House, but trails Neal Carter by just 30 votes.

Wednesday, 6:41 a.m.

Arizona voters turned out in near-record numbers to set the stage for a high stakes battle for the U.S. Senate, keep former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's comeback hopes alive and give a strong challenger to a wounded incumbent congressman.

Dr. Hiral Tipirneni won a four-way Democratic primary Tuesday to take on scandal-scarred Republican Rep. David Schweikert and Arpaio was locked in a tight race to reclaim his old office.

Turnout was on track to set a record and no major voting issues were reported despite new procedures and shuffled polling places in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Returns lagged, though, leaving the outcome of many races unclear into Wednesday.

Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly both easily secured their nominations and quickly previewed the high-stakes battle they'll wage until November. Kelly portrayed himself as an independent outsider, while McSally looked to remind voters in a state where Republicans still have a registration advantage that Kelly is a Democrat.

Wednesday, 12:35 a.m.: Joan Greene Wins Democratic Primary In 5th Congressional District

Voters line up in north Phoenix
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Voters line up in north Phoenix on Aug. 4, 2020.

Joan Greene has won the Democratic primary in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District covering the southeastern suburbs of Phoenix, including parts of Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

Greene, a small business owner, defeated musician and educator Jon Ireland and tribal lawyer Javier Ramos. She will take on GOP incumbent Rep. Andy Biggs, who faced no primary challenge and is a strong general election favorite.

Wednesday, 12:25 a.m.: Brandon Martin Wins GOP Primary In 2nd Congressional District.

Brandon Martin has won the Republican primary in the 2nd Congressional District.

The GOP hopes to wrest away the district that covers parts of Pima and Cochise counties from Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

Besides Martin, Republicans in the race were Morgan Joseph and Noran Eric Ruden. Martin lost in the district’s 2018 primary, Joseph works for a local community college and Ruden is a business owner.

Wednesday, 12:20 a.m.: Tom O'Halleran Gets Democratic Nod In 1st Congressional District

Arizona primary election drop box
Kerry Fehr-Snyder/KJZZ
Ballot dropbox outside the polling place at Chandler City Hall for the Aug. 4, 2020, Arizona primary election.

Rep. Tom O'Halleran has won the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District.

O’Halleran faced a spirited challenge from progressive Eva Putzova, who painted O’Halleran as a GOP-leaning Democrat.

O’Halleran is one of the more moderate Democrats in the U.S. House, a stance that has seen him elected twice in the sprawling swing district. It runs from Flagstaff east to the Navajo Nation and sweeps south and then west to take in parts of Pinal County and a slice of northern Pima County.

District voters have only elected Democrats to the House since 2011 redistricting.

Tuesday, 10:25 p.m.: Longtime Eastern Arizona Lawmaker Sylvia Allen Defeated

Tom O
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Tom O'Halleran in 2019.

The head of the Arizona Senate’s education committee has lost her seat representing the 6th Legislative District.

Republican Sen. Sylvia Allen, a longtime lawmaker from Snowflake, lost to retired Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers.

Rogers had run for Congress several times before eyeing the state Senate. More than $1 million was spent on the race.

Allen had served two stints in the Senate, from 2008-2012 and again following the 2014 election.

Tuesday, 9:40 p.m.: Michelle Ugenti-Rita Wins GOP Race In 23rd Legislative District

Arizona Sen Sylvia Allen
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Sylvia Allen in 2019.
 

Scottsdale state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita has defeated a well-funded challenger in the 23rd Legislative District.

Attorney Alex Kolodin had attacked her in the Republican primary for being a “scandal-plagued” career politician. Ugenti-Rita and her now-husband were accused of sexually harassing a female lobbyist, which she denies.

Ugenti-Rita is a longtime lawmaker whose harassment allegations against former Rep. Don Shooter led to his expulsion.

Tuesday, 9:25 p.m.: Democrat Michael Muscato Wins In 8th District

Michael Muscato has won the Democratic primary in the heavily Republican 8th Congressional District that spans the west Phoenix suburbs. Also on the ticket were Bob Musselwhite and Bob Olson.

Muscato will take on Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko in November. Lesko did not face a primary challenge and is strongly favored to hold onto the conservative district in November.

Tuesday, 9:20 p.m.: Dave Giles Wins GOP Nod In 9th Congressional District

Dave Giles has won the Republican primary in the 9th Congressional District, a Democratic stronghold that takes in Tempe and parts of the eastern Phoenix suburbs.

The race featured the Gilbert business consultant against Chandler City Councilman Sam Huang and Phoenix pharmacist Nicholas Tutora.

Democratic Rep. Greg Stanton faced no primary opposition and advanced automatically.

Tuesday, 9:10 p.m.: Hiral Tipirneni Wins Democratic Nod To Face Schweikert

Michelle Ugenti-Rita
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Michelle Ugenti-Rita in 2020.

Hiral Tipirneni has won the Democratic primary race in the 6th Congressional District and will take on Republican Rep. David Schweikert in November.

The four-way Democratic race featured Tipirneni, who is a physician who earned name identification in 2018 by running in the 8th District. She outraised the other three Democrats on the ballot.

She bested tech entrepreneur Anita Malik, who challenged the Republican incumbent in 2018. Rounding out the field were business owner Stephanie Rimmer and Karl Gentles, a public relations agency owner.

Democrats consider Schweikert vulnerable in the strongly GOP district because of ethics violations, though he did not face a primary challenge and automatically advanced to the November general election. The affluent district covers parts of North Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Fountain Hills.

Tuesday, 8:55 p.m.: Paul Gosar Wins GOP Nod In 4th Congressional District

Hiral Tipirneni
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Hiral Tipirneni in 2018.

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar has secured his party’s nomination for another term in the massive 4th Congressional District. Gosar fended off a challenge from former teacher and current business owner Anne Marie Ward. He’s strongly favored to hold onto the seat in November. The conservative district runs from northern Phoenix suburbs northwest to the California-Nevada line.

Tuesday, 8:50 p.m.: Delina DiSanto Wins Democratic Nod In 4th Congressional District

Delina DiSanto has won the Democratic primary in the 4th Congressional District.

The race featured the registered nurse and business owner against educator Stuart Starky. The district runs from northern Phoenix suburbs northwest to the California-Nevada line. It’s a heavily Republican district represented by conservative Rep. Paul Gosar.

Tuesday, 8:45 p.m. Ann Kirkpatrick  Wins Democratic Nod In 2nd Congressional District

Paul Gosar
Paul Gosar in 2018.

Incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick has fended off a primary challenge from an underfunded Democrat to advance to the November general election in the 2nd Congressional District.

Kirkpatrick faced political newcomer Peter Quilter in her bid for a second term in the district. She previously represented the 1st District before stepping aside to run unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

She announced in January that she was taking time off from her congressional duties to seek treatment for alcohol dependence after she was seriously injured in a fall.

Tuesday, 8:10 p.m.: McSally Wins GOP Nod For Senate Seat In Arizona

Ann Kirkpatrick
Tracy Greer/KJZZ
Ann Kirkpatrick in KJZZ's studio in December 2012.

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona has defeated a conservative businessman who challenged her for the Republican nomination to finish the late John McCain’s U.S. Senate term.

McSally held a big lead over Daniel McCarthy in Tuesday’s Arizona primary.

McSally was a trailblazing woman in the U.S. Air Force, the first woman to fly in combat and to lead a fighter squadron out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson. More recently, she revealed a darker side of her military career, disclosing last year that she was raped by a superior officer.

Tuesday, 8:06 p.m.

Martha McSally
Bret Jaspers/KJZZ
Martha McSally in 2019.

HEATHER VAN BLOKLAND: Today is primary election day in Arizona. Polling locations across the state closed just over an hour ago. Early results from the primary election were just released at 8:00. With me now is KJZZ's Ben Giles, who's been following the races. Ben, one election to watch is the race for [Maricopa] County sheriff. 

GILES: That's right. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is so far looking to make an unsuccessful comeback to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. He lost that office after holding it for years in 2016. He is just behind Jerry Sheridan, one of his former employees by, gosh, just about 500 votes. The Republicans are trying to pick up that office that they lost to Paul Penzone four years ago. And Penzone is running unopposed as a Democrat in his reelection bid. 

VAN BLOKLAND: Another big race is the Democratic primary in congressional District 6 for the right to take on Republican incumbent David Schweikert. Tell me what's going on there. 

GILES: Well, so far, at least according to Maricopa County results, it looks like Hiral Tipirneni is in the lead. She is expected by some to come out of that race and face Schweikert, who she has a sizable cash advantage over. As of July, she had over $1.5 million in her campaign war chest. And Schweikert has been troubled by a long running ethics investigation that just wrapped up and culminated in an official reprimand from Congress. So that could be a pickup seat for Democrats in Congress. 

VAN BLOKLAND: With the updates tonight, that is KJZZ Ben Giles. Thank you, Ben. For more on election results, follow KJZZ.org. Listen tomorrow to KJZZ, The Show beginning at 9:00 a.m. for full analysis of today's election results. 

Tuesday, 8 p.m.: Mark Kelly Secures Democratic Senate Nomination

Mark Kelly
Nancy Dudenhoefer/KJZZ
Mark Kelly in KJZZ's studio in March 2020.

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly has secured the Democratic nomination in Arizona to finish the late John McCain’s U.S. Senate term.

Kelly faced only a write-in opponent in Tuesday’s primary. It was an easy path to the nomination after other prominent Democrats decided not to run.

Kelly flew combat missions for the Navy during Operation Desert Storm before becoming a test pilot and later an astronaut. He flew four missions to the International Space Station.

He later founded a gun-control advocacy organization with his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in an attempted assassination during a constituent event in Tucson.

He’s expected to face Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who faces a long-shot challenge for the Republican nomination from businessman Daniel McCarthy.

Tuesday, 7 p.m.: Polls Close In Arizona

Polls have closed in Arizona's primary election as voters turned out in high numbers to choose candidates for a nationally watched U.S. Senate race, nine U.S. House seats and all 90 seats in the state Legislature.

Officials with the Secretary of State's office say turnout appears high and they've heard of no major problems accessing the polls.

Most people vote by mail in Arizona and Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson says more than 700,000 mail-in or early voting location ballots were cast in the state’s most populous county before Election Day. Nearly 40,000 people had gone to the Phoenix-area polls as of mid-afternoon Tuesday to vote in-person.

The first results will be released just after 8 p.m.

Top races include the Republican U.S. Senate primary race between Sen. Martha McSally and challenger Daniel McCarthy. Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, faces only a write-in opponent for the Democratic nomination.

Democratic and Republican candidates for nine U.S. House districts and all 60 state House and Senate seats are also being decided.

Republican voter Carol Santiago of Phoenix said she voted in person partly because she agrees with concerns President Donald Trump has raised about ballot security. Democrat Akil Zakariya voted in person only because he didn’t request a mail ballot in time. He called Trump’s worries “propaganda.”

Tuesday, 5:15 p.m.: High Turnout Reported

Voting sign
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
A sign directing voters at Paradise Valley Community College on Aug. 4, 2020.

With two hours before polls close in Arizona’s primary election, officials with the Secretary of State’s Office say turnout appears high and they’ve heard of no major problems accessing the polls.

Secretary of State spokeswoman Sophia Solis says they expect record turnout for a primary by the time polls close across the state at 7 p.m.

Most people vote by mail in Arizona and Maricopa County Elections Department spokeswoman Megan Gilbertson says more than 700,000 mail-in or early voting location ballots have already been tallied in the state's largest county. Nearly 40,000 people have gone to the Phoenix-area polls so far Tuesday to vote in-person.

The first results will be relased just after 8 p.m.

Top races include the Republican U.S. Senate primary race between Sen. Martha McSally and challenger Daniel McCarthy. Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, faces only a write-in opponent for the Democratic nomination.

Democratic and Republican candidates for nine U.S. House districts and all 60 state House and Senate seats are also being decided.

Republican voter Carol Santiago of Phoenix said she voted in person partly because she agrees with concerns President Donald Triump has raised about ballot security. Democrat Akil Zakariya voted in person only because he didn't request a mail balot in time. He called Trump's worries “propaganda.”

Tuesday, 7 a.m.: Arizona Voters Head To The Polls

Polling places have opened across Arizona for the state's primary election and are scheduled to remain open until 7 p.m.

Tuesday's election features few big-ticket races and most Arizona voters who plan to cast a ballot have already done so.

Election officials across the state encouraged voters to request a mail ballot, and some areas expanded options for early voting to reduce crowds on Election Day.

But those showing up to vote in person will find it looks different than elections of the past as the tradition of casting a ballot adjusts to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maricopa County election officials dropped assigned polling places in metro Phoenix and instead set up 99 vote centers that accommodate all voters in the county, regardless of where they live.

The county shifted many sites from smaller libraries, community centers and churches to larger venues like convention centers, malls and retail facilities.

In Tucson, Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez advised people to look up their poll location on the recorder’s website.

→ Latest Results From Maricopa County Recorder's Office

Voting booth
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Voters at the Paradise Valley Community College polling station on Aug. 4, 2020.

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