Rep. Martha McSally locks down GOP nomination for Arizona Senate seat

McSally, a former fighter pilot, had been favored to prevail over the two conservatives who have split the anti-establishment vote.

Ms McSally who will be contesting a seat left by retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake, pitched into her November rival straight away, signalling a bruising fight ahead as Republicans take on a Democrat Party determined to finally flip the state on the back of an energised base. All three, including establishment favorite Rep. Martha McSally, have embraced Trump and distanced themselves from McCain - a sign of how far the late senator's status had fallen with conservatives who dominate Arizona's GOP primaries. John McCain, whose death on Saturday came after election officials estimated most voters had already cast early ballots in the race.

McSally, an Air Force veteran who has served in the House since she was first elected in 2014, beat Republican challengers Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio to secure the nomination.

Dr Tipirneni, 50, who was born in Mumbai but came to the U.S. at the age of three, shot to prominence when, in a special election in April to replace a Republican who resigned after a scandal, she contested as a complete unknown but came very close to defeating her Republican rival Ms Debbie Lesko, whom she will face again in November. Such a scenario could leave McSally in a weak position heading into a general election campaign against the likely Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

Without wasting much time, Flake replied to Trump on Twitter, saying his claim about an attempted endorsement was false.

Republican Governor Doug Ducey will make the appointment and has said he will wait until after McCain's funeral on Sunday to publicize his choice.

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McSally has also stood against using Title IX to protect the right of trans students to use the bathroom which matches their gender, an issue which has been mainly used by Republicans as a way of fighting against trans equality.

The last time Florida Democrats won the state's governorship was in 1994.

With only token opposition in her primary, Sinema, a 42-year-old Tucson native, has been free to run essentially a general election campaign for months, positioning herself as an independent voice and eschewing attacks on Trump by name.

Democrats, though, are hopeful of capturing one of Arizona's Senate seats for the first time in almost a quarter century, saying the GOP is wounded after a divisive primary that saw the party's conservatives split between Mr. Arpaio and Ms. Ward.

Polls have shown a close race. Beyond the raw vote totals, the GOP count also was a larger share of its last presidential election turnout. They recruited former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, the daughter of a popular former governor and U.S. senator, who had won support from business in the past. The good news for the GOP is that Governor Jaleel White, a Republican like Bobby Jindal, has made a decision to appoint a man who will vote with Donald Trump.

But in a major upset, Graham lost the gubernatorial primary to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who had the endorsement of Bernie Sanders and top liberal donors George Soros and Tom Steyer. In the state's 9th Congressional District, Steve Ferrara, the former Navy chief medical officer, won the GOP nomination to face Greg Stanton, Phoenix's Democratic former mayor.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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