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What to see in the primaries in Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma

  Polling Station
It's the first day in three key states on Tuesday
Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Voters in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma are leading the elections in the last major elections of 2018. [19659005] They offer another test of President Donald Trump's reprint of the Republican Party.

But the races, especially in Arizona, will be given special significance following the death of Senator John McCain, sparking a debate over how far the party has moved to the right since its failed 2008 presidential campaign.

What to See:

Trump, McCain, and a Tossup Senate Seat

Perhaps no other race in the country is demonstrating the competing tensions on the modern Republican party as the three-way GOP primary for the Senate seat now Jeff Flake, who has joined McCain as one of Trump's most prominent GOP critics.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
AP Photo / Ross D. Franklin, file

Republican MP Martha McSally is the Washington establishment's favorite, with a resume that includes time as Air Force Colonel. She has imposed her loyalty on Trump, but faces two overtly conservative opponents: former Senator

Kelli Ward, who lost to McCain in 2016, and ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the 86-year-old immigrant hawk who was once convicted criminal disregard of the court, but pardoned by Trump.

The results could be mixed. Arizona rules give the nomination to the one who receives the most votes.

That means McSally could come out on top, even though a majority of Republicans would split their votes between the more right-ward Ward and Arpaio. Such a scenario could put McSally in a weak position and go into a general election campaign against the likely Democratic candidate, Republican Kyrsten Sinema.

In a year in which Senate Democrats play defense, the Arizona seat offers a rare opportunity that could help them maintain the status quo of a tight-knit Senate or even overturn it to the majority.

Sen. John McCain died on Saturday at the age of 81.
REUTERS / Charles Mostoller

Tuesday's results could also help Arizona Gov Doug Ducey decide what kind of person he wants to fill McCain's seat by 2020. [19659005] If a majority of voters elect one of the most conservative candidates, it could encourage them to elect a candidate who is more of a hardliner for the issues that interest Trump the most, especially immigration.

A strong vote for McSally might prevent the governor from selecting someone whose profile is fundamentally different from McCain's profile.

Trump has intervened in several GOP primaries this year, but has so far dropped out of the Arizona Senate race.

Double Property in Florida

Primary governor elections on both sides of the aisle may remind voters why Florida is still the nation's last political battleground.

Trump has rewarded Republican Ron DeSantis in the Republican primaries with an election campaign and the requisite tweeting. But Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the favorite of the GOP establishment in the United States, has called his best Trump impression broadsides against "Fake News" and himself as the "NRA sell-out."

The problem for Putnam could be that in 2016 he was among the many republican entrepreneurs who publicly expressed reservations about Trump.

If DeSantis wins, that's another sign of Trump's stamp on the GOP. If Putnam succeeds in winning, he will enter the general election with his dealings with Trump and expose him to critics left and right.

Democrats now have their own choice of philosophies and personalities.

Pragmatic centrists hope for Gwen Graham, the former congressman and daughter of Florida's political icon Bob Graham, who served as governor and senator. (Among their supporters: Musician Jimmy Buffet.) Liberal Progressives have their champions in Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (assisted by Senator Bernie Sanders).

But the radio waves were dominated by two extremely wealthy candidates, former Mayor of Miami Beach, Phil Levine, and real estate investor Jeff Greene.

If no outflow is required, the winner must immediately support the support within the group.

The primary will also cement a heavyweight Senate matchup in November established Democrat Bill Nelson against two-term Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Weapon control a key problem for Florida voters

Weapon control will be a key issue in the Florida vote, which leaves two dead and eleven injured two days after shooting at a video game tournament in Jacksonville.

Deadly Shooting is the latest discussion on gun control in Florida, which was triggered after 17 were killed in a shoot-out six months ago at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

David Hogg, a student and school designer from Parkland, Florida, speaks at the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington on March 24, 2018.
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Since English: German: www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…=view&id=167 Massacres, parkland students were active on the national stage, pleading for stricter gun laws and pushing for more involvement from younger voters.

The parents of two students killed in the massacre are running for two school board seats in Broward County, on platforms that promote improved school safety that was not a priority prior to the shootout.

Figures Watch

Beyond the review of the winners, primaries in Arizona and Florida will offer political observers ample data to get through.

It is noteworthy which party attracts more general voters to the Florida elections and how are these votes distributed? Will it be South Florida Democrats or Panhandle Republicans who are numerically closer to the presidential election?

Which side will throw more ballots in the state's battlefield region along Interstate 4, especially in Tampa-St. Petersburg, home to two of the nation's most populous presidential swing counties?

In Arizona, the Senate race is likely to revolve in November, whether Democrats can maximize their base as they shell out enough Republicans. This means watching closely as the Senate gets out of hand in the suburbs of Phoenix.

Oklahoma Governor: Will Republicans throw a curve ball?

Mary Fallin
Carlo Allegri / Reuters

The Republicans in Oklahoma are trying to hold the state's top office, although the temporary Mary Fallin has some of the worst professional endorsements of a governor in the nation.

Democrats hope that the right-wing march of the GOP electorate and the embrace of outsiders will lead to a run-off victory for the owner of Tulsa mortgage firm Kevin Stitt over former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett. Stitt uses his personal fortune to attack Cornett because he is not loyal enough to Trump and his government.

Democrats have already nominated Drew Edmondson, a former Attorney General, and national Democrats believe he has the profile of running a race against Stitt. Tuesday's Cornett victory would be a great victory for enterprising Republicans who believe that a more moderate message can still prevail – and likely undermine November's democratic hopes.


Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press author Sean Murphy of Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

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