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Ballot-Box Basics

Your thumbnail guide to the most-competitive Southern Arizona primaries

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Over the last two months, the Tucson Weekly has been covering the most-competitive primary races in Southern Arizona. With voters casting their ballots on Tuesday, Aug. 28, here is a recap.

U.S. Senate

The Republican contest to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl pits U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake against multimillionaire Wil Cardon and two other candidates: radio talk-show host Clair Van Steenwyk and Bryan Hackbarth.

While Cardon has spent more than $4 million on a TV-heavy campaign, he does not appear to have dragged Flake down; polls have never shown Cardon any closer than 22 percentage points.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Democrat Richard Carmona in November.

U.S. Congress, District 1

Arizona's new District 1—a sprawling district that includes Oro Valley, SaddleBrooke and Marana as well as eastern Arizona, Flagstaff and the Navajo reservation—has no incumbent. Three Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination: former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton, Iraq business consultant and former State Department staffer Gaither Martin, and Show Low retiree Patrick Gatti. Paton has raised the most money and run the most aggressive campaign.

On the Democratic side, Ann Kirkpatrick, a former state lawmaker who represented the area from 2008 to 2010 before losing to Republican Paul Gosar, is facing Wenona Benally Baldenegro, a Harvard-educated Navajo who is seeking to become the first female Native American elected to Congress. Baldenegro has a big cash disadvantage, which has allowed Kirkpatrick to focus on the general election.

Mari Herreras took a look at the primary here.

U.S. Congress, District 2

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber is coming off winning the June special election to complete the term of Gabrielle Giffords, but he's already in a Democratic primary race to keep his seat. State Rep. Matt Heinz has been trying to run to the left of him by highlighting two votes in which Barber crossed party lines to vote with Republicans. But Heinz is struggling to gain traction; the Barber campaign released a mid-July poll that showed him leading Heinz by more than 60 percentage points.

On the Republican side, former Air Force fighter-pilot Martha McSally, who came in second in the GOP's special-election primary earlier this year, faces the little-known Mark Koskiniemi.

U.S. Congress, District 3

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva is up against two Democratic challengers in his effort to win a sixth term: former state lawmaker Amanda Aguirre, and local physician Manny Arreguin. Aguirre and Arreguin are both claiming that Grijalva is ineffective, but neither has spent significant funds to get that message out. Read more about the primary in Mari Herreras' article here.

On the GOP side in the heavily Democratic district, activist Gabby Saucedo Mercer is facing political newcomer Jaime Vasquez.

Pima County Sheriff

Five Republicans have lined up to challenge Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading Weekly contributor Brian J. Pedersen to note that "voters may find it difficult to differentiate between the various challengers, especially since each has cited a variation of 'it's time for some new leadership' in campaign materials."

Mark Napier is a retired Tucson Police Department captain who now heads up Boston University's online Master of Criminal Justice Program; Chester Manning has been a police officer in a variety of small police departments and has been doing much of his campaigning at gun ranges; Vinson Holck is a retired TPD officer who specialized in training programs; Walt Setzer is a former U.S. marshal; and Terry Frederick is a former Pima County deputy who now works as a private investigator.

County Board of Supervisors, District 1

With Supervisor Ann Day stepping down in this GOP-leaning district, four Republicans are competing to take her place: state lawmaker Vic Williams, former Republican National Committeeman Mike Hellon, Tea Party activist Ally Miller and former mortgage-banker Stuart McDaniel.

While Williams has the highest name ID, he is disliked by some conservatives: His own seatmates, Sen. Al Melvin and Rep. Terri Proud, have endorsed Miller, who declared last month that she would no longer do interviews with this "liberal rag." Hellon has focused his campaign on the importance of building a business-friendly approach to government and delivering constituent services, while McDaniel has said he wants to reduce spending and taxes.

The winner of the race will face Democratic former state lawmaker Nancy Young Wright.

Pima County, District 4

Republican Sean Collins' effort to unseat Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll has degenerated into the nastiest race in Pima County, with Collins' allies unleashing a long list of unsubstantiated allegations about Carroll's "Chicago-style" politics. While a fierce battle is being waged online, Collins has raised little money to get out his underlying message that Carroll has betrayed the Republican cause. Carroll, meanwhile, has bolstered his GOP and business-community credentials with endorsements from Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash, the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association and mining giant ASARCO. Jim Nintzel brings you an in-depth look at the candidates in a recent cover story.

Arizona Senate, District 3

Olivia Cajero Bedford, who has served in the Arizona Legislature since being elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, is hoping to hang on to a state Senate seat in a race against Maria de la Luz Garcia, who served briefly in the Legislature after she was appointed to the state Senate after the untimely death of her husband, Jorge Garcia, in 2010.

The most-pointed policy difference is on the subject of school vouchers: Bedford opposes them, while Garcia supports them, which has led to Garcia getting support from a political committee that also supports hard-right Republicans such as Russell Pearce and Al Melvin.

Arizona House of Representatives, District 9

Three Democrats who largely agree on policy issues are competing for two House seats in District 9, which includes midtown Tucson, the Catalina foothills and the Sabino Canyon area: Dustin Cox, Victoria Steele and Mohur Sidhwa. Cox owns a consulting business that works with nonprofits; Steele is a former radio reporter who now owns her own counseling practice; and Sidhwa is an immigrant from India who has been active in Democratic politics.

The winner will face Republican Ethan Orr in November in one of the state's few competitive legislative districts.

Arizona House of Representatives, District 10

Three Democrats are in the hunt for two House seats in District 10, which includes midtown Tucson and a broad swath of the eastside. State lawmaker Bruce Wheeler wants to go back for another term; he's joined in the race by Air Force veteran and political consultant Brandon Patrick, and Stefanie Mach, who works as a consultant to nonprofits. The candidates agree on most policy issues.

The top two finishers will face Republicans Ted Vogt, a House incumbent, and Todd Clodfelter, who owns a printing business, in the competitive legislative district.

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