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GOP winners gear up for November after tough primaries

AWAITING A WIN: Campaign members for David Schweikert anxiously crowd around the computer monitor as election poll results filter in Tuesday night. (Photo by Annie Wechter)
AWAITING A WIN: Campaign members for David Schweikert anxiously crowd around the computer monitor as election poll results filter in Tuesday night. (Photo by Annie Wechter)

Dozens of supporters crowded into Republican candidate David Schweikert’s campaign headquarters Tuesday, breaking out in cheers as preliminary election numbers were read aloud for Arizona’s 5th Congressional District.

Schweikert beat out four other Republicans in the bid to face Democratic incumbent Rep. Harry Mitchell, who represents the district covering Tempe.

Schweikert, who ran against Mitchell in 2008, said his strategy going into the general election is to make the Congressman explain his voting record.

“He’s going to have to defend a record of voting for Obamacare and excessive spending,” Schweikert said. “I’ll have to articulate a very different vision and show where our alternatives would have created jobs.”

Schweikert led his primary opponents with about 37 percent of the vote at press time, with his closest competitor, businessman Jim Ward, at about 25 percent.

ASU College Republicans President Tyler Bowyer, a Russian senior, said he and his fellow student Republicans were excited to see Schweikert win.

“We’re just really excited about David winning the primary in CD 5,” Bowyer said. “We’re ready to put all our support behind him.”

Ward said the next step after the primary is to defeat Mitchell by focusing on the economy.

“The No. 1 issue is jobs,” Ward said. “People are feeling the pain of a high unemployment rate.”

In other races, Sen. John McCain beat his high-profile challenger J.D. Hayworth, a former Congressman from CD 5. Hayworth trailed McCain by about 25 percent at press time.

Gov. Jan Brewer won the Republican nomination, though her main competitors dropped out over the summer. County Attorney Rick Romley, a long-time Sheriff Joe Arpaio opponent running for to keep his office, lost the Republican nomination to Bill Montgomery, who had been endorsed by Arpaio.

Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District had 10 Republicans running for the nomination. Ben Quayle took the lead in the polls Tuesday, despite taking a few hits in the media for his contributions to and controversy over a campaign mailer regarding his family.

Richard Herrera, associate professor in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies, said immigration will remain a top issue going into the general election.

“At the state level, immigration seems to be the issue for most candidates to have to deal with,” Herrera said. “There may be some discussion about the economy, but right now it looks like immigration has pushed it to the side.”

In the governor’s race, he said this will be Democratic candidate Terry Goddard’s major hurdle.

“It all depends on whether or not Goddard can change the debate from immigration to the economy,” he said. “If not, Brewer will probably win.”

Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, which lies on the border with Mexico, has incumbent Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., going up against Republican Jesse Kelly in the general election, but Giffords will probably hold her own, Herrera said.

“You have a two-term incumbent who has taken a very strong stand on immigration,” he said, pointing to her rallies at the border to promote border security. “She’s won fairly handily the last couple of elections [and] my guess is she’ll be able to fend it off.”

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