PHOENIX - Electing a replacement for Republican Gov. Jan Brewer tops the list of items to watch in Arizona's November general election. Voters also will choose a new secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and top schools official.
The incumbent Republican governor is termed out, and voters will choose between GOP state Treasurer Doug Ducey and former Board of Regents Chairman Fred Duval in the election, with Libertarian Barry Hess and another minor party candidate also running. Ducey will try to cast himself as the front-runner with broad backing while DuVal tries to convince independents and moderate Republicans to vote Democratic because of his moderate political views.
Expect aggressive campaigns from Democrat Felecia Rotellini and Republican Mark Brnovich in the two months before the election. Rotellini has amassed a war chest of more than $800,000 for the general election after running unopposed in the primary. Brnovich knocked off incumbent Republican Tom Horne in the primary while running with little cash -- less than $100,000. Expect him to do better raising money for the general, but Rotellini has general election experience, losing by a narrow margin to Horne in 2010.
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Republican incumbent John Huppenthal was handily whipped by challenger Diane Douglas in the primary. Douglas is a former school board member from Peoria who wants the state to drop its new Common Core student standards. She'll face Democrat David Garcia, an ASU professor and former superintendent's office administrator. Garcia could win backing from moderate Republicans and the business community, both of which generally support the new standards.
As of Friday, the Republican primary in the 1st Congressional District remained too close to call, with fewer than 500 votes separating Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin and businessman Gary Kiehne. The winner will take on incumbent Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick. The sprawling district runs from Tucson's northern suburbs east to the New Mexico line and Flagstaff, taking in large tribal areas. Kirkpatrick has strong support from the tribal communities, but CD1 is a classic swing district that could go to either party. That's especially true of a Libertarian write-in candidate fails to qualify. Libertarians drew 6 and 7 percent of the vote in the last two general elections in the district. Republicans believe they'll get most of those votes in a race that lacks a Libertarian.
Democrat Ron Barber will take on Republican Martha McSally in a rematch of the 2012 election. Barber was coming off a special election win to replace wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when he beat McSally. Republicans believe they have a shot of taking out this seat as well. If both Barber and Kirkpatrick lose, the party split between Arizona's 9 representatives flips from the current 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans to 6-3 in favor of the GOP.