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Arizona primary election: Here are top races to watch Tuesday

PHOENIX – Arizona voters who didn’t take advantage of early voting are heading to the polls Tuesday to pare down the field before November’s general election.

More than a million early ballots already were cast, a state primary record, as many Arizonans looked to avoid voting on Election Day during the coronavirus pandemic.

Anybody who received an early ballot but didn’t mail it in can drop it off at a voting location before the polls close at 7 p.m.

In addition to choosing congressional and legislative candidates, Arizonans are weighing in on a variety of state, county and city races.

Here are some of the top primary races to watch:

Maricopa County Sheriff

Republican voters will decide whether 88-year-old Joe Arpaio’s comeback bid will continue.

Before he can go head-to-head again with incumbent Paul Penzone, who ousted Arpaio by a 56%-43% margin in 2016, he’ll have to beat out law enforcement veterans Jerry Sheridan and Mike Crawford in the GOP primary.

Penzone is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Maricopa County Attorney

Three Democrats are looking to challenge Republican incumbent Allister Adel, who was appointed to replace Bill Montgomery last year after Montgomery moved on to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Democratic voters will choose among Julie Gunnigle, a former prosecutor in Illinois, and two former public defenders, Will Knight and Robert McWhirter.

Adel is unopposed.


Four incumbent members of Congress from Arizona are facing primary challengers other than write-in candidates.

  • Daniel McCarthy is looking to replace Sen. Martha McSally on the Republican ticket.
  • Eva Putzova is taking on Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran in District 1.
  • Peter Quilter is opposing Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in District 2.
  • Anne Marie Ward is challenging Republican Rep. Paul Gosar in District 4.

One Phoenix-area incumbent who could be vulnerable in November will learn who he’ll be up against.

District 6 Rep. David Schweikert has struggled to raise funds as he seeks a sixth term and last week settled a two-year House Ethics Committee investigation by admitting to 11 violations and agreeing to pay a $50,000 fine.

Democrats will pick Schweikert’s opponent from among Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who lost twice to Rep. Debbie Lesko in District 8, Karl Gentles, Anita Malik and Stephanie Rimmer.


Four major Phoenix suburbs are voting in nonpartisan mayoral races during the primary, including two with vacant positions.

In the mayoral primaries where nobody gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will advance to the general election.

Scottsdale has five candidates seeking to succeed Jim Lane, who reached his term limit: Lisa Borowsky, Suzanne Klapp, Virginia L. Korte, Bob Littlefield and Dave Ortega.

In Gilbert, three candidates are seeking to replace Jenn Daniels, who chose not to run again: Lynne King Smith, Matt Nielsen and Brigette Peterson.

Glendale voters will decide whether to stick with Mayor Jerry Weiers or replace him with Michelle Robertson.

In Mesa, Verl Farnsworth is challenging Mayor John Giles.

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