Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally and Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema were the victors in Tuesday’s primary election for the Arizona U.S. Senate race, based on early results.
McSally defeated Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County sheriff. Sinema easily won the Democratic primary over challenger Deedra Abboud. Arizona is seen as a key race to win for Democrats hoping to take over the Senate.
McSally and Sinema will now face off in the November general election for a seat being vacated by Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring.
What has happened so far?
The competitive contest has had its share of controversy.
Ward apologized late Monday for a comment about the timing of the announcement from John McCain’s family that he was stopping treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. Ward also blamed the media for misinterpreting some of her comments.
On Facebook, one of Ward’s staffers suggested the announcement may have been intended to take attention from her campaign. Ward responded: "I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me."
McCain died after the comment was posted and Ward later deleted it, Phoenix New Times reported.
The comment led to heavy criticism in the final hours leading up to Tuesday’s election.
Arizona law requires Gov. Doug Ducey to appoint someone to the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona now open due to McCain’s death on Saturday. Since the vacancy occurred after the state’s May 30 deadline, the special election will be held in 2020, instead of 2018.
What happened with Arizona voting equipment?
Widespread problems with voting equipment in Maricopa County Tuesday morning caused another controversy. Sixty-two polling places reportedly failed to open on time, but all were operational by 11:30 a.m. There are about 750 locations in the county.
The county recorder and secretary of state requested an extension of polling hours. But the Board of Supervisors decided to not extend the hours, according to published reports. The problems were due to malfunctioning equipment and equipment that was not set up.
“The board is being asked to step in and take unprecedented action that may confuse voters, delay returns and have other unintended consequences," Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Chucri said in a statement. "We encourage any voter who wants to cast their ballot to be in line at any of your designated polling places by 7 p.m. and their vote will be counted."
Voters waited as long as two hours at the Tempe Public Library at Rural Road and Southern Avenue, the Arizona Republic reported. Long lines were still seen after the polls closed.