With border security issues high on the political agenda, voters
will choose from six hopefuls including state treasurer and
businessman Doug Ducey and ex-mayor and developer Scott Smith, who
are seen as frontrunners among recent political polls and observers.
"I think the candidate who has convinced voters that they are the
most conservative wins the Republican primary," said Jennifer Duffy,
an analyst at the non-partisan Cook Political Report. "That's what
voters there want to hear."
The Arizona governor's race is the highest profile battle among a
series of state primary contests being held on Tuesday that also
include votes in Florida, Vermont and Oklahoma. The winner in
Arizona will face Democrat Fred Duval, a former member of the state
Board of Regents, in the Nov. 6 general election.
Republican contender Ducey, the staunchly anti-abortion former chief
executive of ice cream company Cold Stone Creamery, has campaigned
on rejuvenating the border state's economy, improving education, and
shaking free of federal constraints.
But Ducey, 50, has also called for better border security, while
avoiding statements on comprehensive immigration reform and
providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that
might alienate some voters.
"We need to start with securing the border and then we can talk
about other things," said Ducey, whose supporters include hardline
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Tea Party favorite Texas Senator Ted
His main primary opponent, Smith, the 58-year-old former mayor of
the state's third-largest city, is considered a more moderate
Republican who also wants a secure border and has been endorsed by
"I do believe that we have to fix the immigration system," said
Smith. "We need to find a way for people to be right by the law and
so they can earn their way to residency."
A recent poll of early voters by political consultant Bert Coleman
pegged Ducey and Smith as the top two in the race, confirming what
other observers have said.
A potential dark horse is Christine Jones, 46, a former internet
hosting company executive, political observers said.
Jones, a first-time candidate, has campaigned hard against illegal
immigration, billing herself as a conservative leader who joined the
race as an political outsider.
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Another key Arizona race is a tight Republican contest to challenge
incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick in a competitive U.S.
Arizona Democrats will also choose a successor to U.S.
Representative Ed Pastor, who is retiring after 11 terms from a
heavily Latino district where there is no Republican candidate.
In Vermont, a handful of candidates are lining up for the Republican
nod to challenge Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin and U.S. House
Rep. Peter Welch, both considered favorites in November.
Among the candidates seeking to face Shumlin is Libertarian Dan
Feliciano, who has asked voters to write him in on the Republican
ticket. Others contenders include Republican frontrunner Scott
Milne, and Steve Berry and Emily Peyton.
In Florida, most attention will be focused on the gubernatorial
race, which is shaping up to be one of the most hotly contested -
and expensive - in recent memory although the outcome of the
primaries is a foregone conclusion.
Incumbent Governor Rick Scott and his main Democratic challenger,
former Governor Charlie Crist, are forecast to win by wide margins.
Expected to be one of the nation's most closely watched races in
November, it offers Democrats a rare chance to unseat a southern
Republican governor. The last time Democrats won the Florida
governor's race was in 1994, when Jeb Bush narrowly lost to
incumbent Lawton Chiles.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Michael Perry)
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