In US Senate primary, Arizona Republicans compete over who loves Trump most

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Republicans picked the candidate backed by the party establishment and seen by analysts as the GOP's best chance at holding the open seat in what is shaping up to be a hard election for the party.

The 86-year-old man known nationwide as Sheriff Joe, who personifies the tough immigration policies that define the modern-day Republican Party, may never serve in public office again after his loss Tuesday.

Now McSally has to bring together the party - including some of Trump's most devoted supporters - going into the fall against Democrat Krysten Sinema, who is widely considered well-positioned.

Kirkpatrick had a lot of help from the party in her bid for the 2nd District seat McSally vacated to run for Senate. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.

Deedra Abboud was also in the running for the Democratic Party seat, while the highly-contested Republican Party seat was also sought out by former state Sen. Both nominees have pledged not to campaign then or Thursday in his honor.

In a statement acknowledging her primary win, Sinema made no mention of her opponent. "It's up to all of us to follow his lead of always putting country over party", the Democrat said. Ms. McSally held a moment of silence for Mr. McCain at her victory rally, before tearing into Ms. Sinema. "How did you guys like those side-by-side outfits?" she said, drawing laughs.

But much of McSally's speech was a lacerating attack on Sinema. "Between a patriot and a protester".

In the end, Ward split the Trumpian vote with former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, and McSally sailed to victory with an enormous fundraising advantage.

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Flake responded just more than an hour later, refuting Trump's claim that he endorsed McSally and adding that his last endorsement was for Alabama Sen. Bob Graham. But she still faces several primary challengers, including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who has gotten progressive support from the likes of Vermont Sen.

The nation's eyes are on Arizona and its hotly contested U.S. Senate race, seen as a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats fighting to retake control of the chamber and challenge President Donald Trump's agenda on everything from illegal immigration to taxes and trade. McSally's district in particular is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in November's general election. Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally to represent the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively, in the November general election. While her centrist approach and Blue Dog Democrat status may not appeal to the state's voters who are far to the left, her willingness to be bipartisan could curry favor among the state's large crop of independent voters.

Following her win Tuesday, President Trump praised McSally for her win and rejecting an endorsement from Senator Jeff Flake. In mid-August, McSally's campaign boasted about the president calling her "terrific" while introducing her at an event. "Congratulations, and on to November!", Trump tweeted in the early hours of Wednesday.

Both candidates have a six-week sprint to reach voters before mail-in ballots go out in early October, which is how most Arizonans are expected to cast their votes.

McCain, who will be buried Sunday, is likely to be replaced by a more conservative, toe-the-line appointee.

McCain's death could give Trump even greater leverage over a rightward-tilting Republican party as he fights for his political life against the Russian Federation meddling and obstruction investigations.

Florida also has a pair of marquee statewide races that will be closely watched for signs of how the state might swing in the 2020 presidential election. However, Democrats might have another worry in Arizona.

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