Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Key Primaries Decided Today in Ariz., Okla.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. David Schweikert (above) faces fellow freshman Rep. Ben Quayle in today's Arizona primary battle for the 6th district GOP nomination.

Were it not for the Republican National Convention, today's Arizona primary would be garnering much more attention, as redistricting led to some of the wildest primaries of the cycle, including one Member-vs.-Member clash.

The results will offer resolution to nearly a year of competitive House and Senate primaries. At least one Member will find out tonight that he will not be returning to Capitol Hill next Congress, and the table will be set on races that Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C., will be paying close attention to this fall.

In Oklahoma, Democrats and Republicans are vying for their party's nominations in the 2nd district, with runoffs set today to determine the November race to replace retiring Rep. Dan Boren (D).

Arizona Senate

The early GOP frontrunner, Rep. Jeff Flake, appeared to have a competitive primary on his hands, thanks to a self-funded bid from real estate investor Wil Cardon.

Much of Cardon's television advertising was highly negative against Flake. But in early August, Cardon surprised many when he scaled back his television advertising. As soon as the news broke, one Flake source wrote in an email, "Put a fork in him."

The timing of the Cardon fade was crucial. Flake wasted no time preparing for the fall campaign against the presumptive Democratic nominee, former Surgeon General Richard Carmona.

The Cardon rivalry meant that Flake had to spend resources and consolidate the right. Democrats are quick to point out that while Flake should win tonight by a healthy margin, the primary delayed his ability to prepare for the fall.

Arizona's 4th district

Rep. Paul Gosar (R) moved from the competitive 1st district to the newly drawn 4th district, which covers most of western Arizona and is a Safe Republican seat.
At first, he faced a three-way primary against state Sen. Ron Gould and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. Babeu had begun to achieve national celebrity as a future GOP star, but his campaign imploded amid a scandal involving an ex-boyfriend's immigration status.

Public polling has been scant. In a late July interview with Roll Call, Gosar expressed confidence about his prospects. Some Republicans remain skeptical, though, because his television presence has lagged behind the Club for Growth's ad campaign for Gould.
In typical fashion, the Club for Growth has been merciless in its attacks against Gosar. One unaligned GOP strategist said that if Gosar loses this race, "full credit, without question," should go to the club.

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