FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, file photo, U.S. Senatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks with volunteers in Phoenix. Sinema is the democratic nominee seeking the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. in a race against U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Kirkpatrick wins competitive Democratic primary

August 28, 2018 - 11:38 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — Former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick emerged from a competitive Democratic primary to win the nomination in an open Arizona House seat on Tuesday.

Kirkpatrick beat recurring candidate Matt Heinz and five others to win the primary. The seat is one of the most closely watched in the nation, as it's a swing district and would be a critical pickup for Democrats looking to capture control of the House of Representatives.

The district includes parts of Tucson and rural Cochise County with a comparable number of Republican and Democratic voters who have chosen representatives from both parties.

On the Republican side, the presumed front-runner was Lea Marquez Peterson. She's the CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She handily outraised her opponents Brandon Martin, Casey Welch and Danny Morales by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That matchup is one of two races with open seats this year — the seat was vacated Republican Rep. Martha McSally, who is now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.

The other open seat was vacated by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who won the Democratic Senate primary.

In the race for Sinema's seat, Steve Ferrara, a former Navy chief medical officer who spent more than two decades in the military, won a three-way GOP primary in Arizona's 9th congressional district. He will face former Phoenix mayor Greg Stanton in November.

Arizona's congressional races and their electoral breakdown will be a key to Democratic hopes of taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the 8th Congressional District, Rep. Debbie Lesko beat Sandra Dowling in the GOP primary. She'll have a rematch against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a doctor who lost to Lesko in a special election this spring.

Tiperneni came within about 5 percentage points of beating Lesko, a margin that was closer than many election watchers expected from the Republican-leaning district. The district covers western parts of suburban Phoenix

Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran is running unopposed to keep his seat representing the 1st Congressional District, which covers much of northern and eastern Arizona. Three Republicans — state Sen. Steve Smith, Wendy Rogers and Tiffany Shedd, are in a primary to challenge him in November. The district narrowly voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, but O'Halleran won his seat that same year.

Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva secured the nomination for his 3rd District seat after a write-in challenge, which covers southwest Arizona and part of the state's second-largest city. Republican Nick Pierson beat Sergio Arellano and Edna San Miguel in the GOP primary.

In the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District, Rep. Andy Biggs is running unopposed, with Democrats Joan Greene winning the nomination. and Jose Torres looking to challenge him in November. Similarly, Republican Rep. Paul Gosar was unopposed in the primary for his 4th District seat, with Democrats David Brill, Delina DiSanto and write-in candidate Ana Maria Perez seeking the Democratic nomination.

In the 6th Congressional District, incumbent Republican Rep. David Schweikert is unopposed. Three Democrats — Anita Malik, Garrick McFadden and Heather Ross — are running in the primary to represent the district that covers northeast suburbs of Phoenix.

Larry Felder, a longtime Republican voter from Scottsdale, said he supports Schweikert and expects him to win in November, citing his longtime local ties. He says Schweikert is a "say-it-like-it-is" politician who appeals to voters who might not trust establishment-type politicians.

"He's always been a straight shooter," he said.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, beat a primary challenge from state Sen. Catherine Miranda for the 7th Congressional District covering parts of Phoenix. No Republicans are running in the Democrat-packed district.

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