Sen. John McCain, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Early Winners; Primary Results Rolling In

Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 7:47pm
Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 12:41am
Jude Joffe-Block/KJZZ

Voters went to the polls in Arizona's Primary Election to vote for candidates in every office, from town council to U.S. Senator. Two notable races were called early Tuesday night: incumbent Sen. John McCain and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio look to both have a place on the ballot in the general election.

The Arizona Secretary of State reported there were nearly 3.4 million voters registered before Tuesday's election. The Maricopa County Recorder's office said it had mailed out more than a million early ballots by mid-August.

As of 12:15 a.m. Wednesday, the Secretary of State reported nearly 796,000 ballots cast and 90 percent of precincts reporting. The results reported below are a reflection of those numbers.

See the latest results at the Maricopa County recorder's office website and the secretary of state's website.

KJZZ focused on these key races:

1st Congressional District

Democratic candiate Tom O'Halleran and Republican Paul Babeu lead their respective races.

Republican turned Independent Tom O’Halleran became a Democrat just before announcing his run for Congress. Some called that opportunistic. But O’Halleran called that a strength saying he knows how to work with everybody.

"Everything I’ve learned in life is you work toward solutions through unification that leadership is about unification," O’Halleran said. "I did it on the police department. I did it in private business. And I did it for sure in the legislature."

O’Halleran faced Miguel Olivas.

This district is one of the largest in the country and includes the Navajo Nation, Show Low, Casa Grande and parts of the north Tucson metro area.  It’s also one of the most diverse from college students to retirees. It’s also 25 percent Native American.

Fred Solop is a politics and international affairs professor at Northern Arizona University. Solop said Pinal County Sheriff Babeu’s tough on immigration stance was popular in this rural district and helped him beat out five other candidates.

"Paul Babeu’s message around immigration and being tough on crime and being a sheriff who is going to approach these issues with a really strong manner that has resonated," Solop said. "It’s interesting because we’re also getting that kind of message from Donald Trump."

The redistricting commission created it to be a competitive district. Both democrats and republicans have held this seat. Incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick left her seat to run for the U.S. Senate against John McCain.

Maricopa County Sheriff

Incumbent Joe Arpaio defeated challenger Dan Saban, 158,186 votes to 60,473 with 89 percent of precincts reporting.

Saban is a retired Buckeye Police Chief who also challenged Arpaio in 2004 and 2008. Also in the race were Wayne Baker and Marsha Ann Hill.

Paul Penzone is unopposed as the Democratic candidate.

5th Congressional District

Former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones lead Andy Biggs 30 percent to 28 percent of votes and claimed victory Tuesday night.

“We want a new way of thinking," Jones told supporters at her headquarters in Gilbert. "We want people who think like us, who have a proven track record of getting things done to go to Washington and actually do something.”

Four Republican candidates vied to represent the district that includes parts of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and Apache Junction. Rep. Matt Salmon is not seeking re-election and endorsed state Senate President Andy Biggs.

While Jones claimed victory Tuesday night, the Biggs campaign released a statement saying they believe provisional and mail in ballots should be counted before a conclusion can be reached.

Talia Fuentes lead Kinsey Remaklus on the Democratic ticket by more than 6,000 votes.

Arizona Corporation Commission

The GOP primary for Arizona’s corporation commission appears to be a victory for the incumbents Bob Burns and Andy Tobin. Boyd Dunn was coming in third as of early Wednesday morning.

There are seven candidates running for three seats this year— two are Democrats— so the only contested primary was the GOP race.

Commission newcomers Boyd Dunn, Rick Gary and Al Melvin are hoping to gain a seat on the commission. Democrats Rom Chabin and William Mundell are also running.

Controversy has rocked the commission, much of it centered on the influence of outside actors like the state’s utilities and the rooftop solar industry.

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Republican John McCain will face Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in November's general election.

McCain has 52 percent of the vote with leading challenger Kelli Ward counting 39 percent of the vote in Marciopa County.

Ward’s campaign ran on securing the Mexico border and national security, with an emphasis on changing the status quo in Washington. Ward attacked McCain for his age and time in office, calling for his retirement.

McCain thanked his supporters after the primary race was called in his favor, but acknowledged the difficulties he’ll face in the coming months.

“Republicans must be willing to put forward smart, common sense, effective policies," McCain said. "And we must be able to resist from a position of strength, ideas coming from the next White House, whoever occupies it, that would take the country in the wrong track.”

Maricopa County Recorder

Incumbent Helen Purcell has a rare primary challenger this election season. Republican Aaron Flannery is an army veteran and new to public office.

Flannery lead the race by a less than 1 percentage point early Wednesday morning, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Purcell first took office in 1988 but faced harsh criticism after long lines at too few precincts in the March presidential preference election.

Adrian Fontes ran uncontested as the Democratic candidate.

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