Primary Election: August 28th, 2018
RCP Ranking: Toss Up
----------PAST KEY RACES----------
2016: President, Senate | AZ-1 | AZ-2
2014: Governor | AZ-1 | AZ-2 | AZ-9
2012: President | Senate | AZ-1 | AZ-2 | AZ-9
2010: Gov | Sen | AZ-1 | AZ-3 | AZ-5 | AZ-7 | AZ-8
2008: President | AZ-1 | AZ-3
2006: Senate | AZ-1 | AZ-5 | AZ-8
2004: President | AZ-1
|ABC 15/OH Predictive InsightsABC 15||4/10 - 4/11||600 LV||4.0||50||40||Sinema +10|
|OH Predictive InsightsPredictive Insights||11/9 - 11/9||600 LV||4.0||46||43||Sinema +3|
Arizona experienced a political earthquake in 1952, when John Rhodes defeated 16-year incumbent Democrat John Murdock by eight points in the Maricopa County-based 1st Congressional District, while Phoenix department store owner Barry Goldwater defeated Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland by two points statewide. By the time Goldwater resigned that Senate seat in 1964 to claim his party's presidential nod, the Republicans were the majority party in the state.
Arizona has inched back toward the Democratic Party, as suburban areas nationally have trended Democratic and as Hispanics increase their vote share in the state. But it still leans Republican overall, as the GOP has maintained majorities in the state legislature for most of the past three decades. Nevertheless, Democrats find themselves with their best opportunity to win a Senate seat in years. The state’s junior senator, Jeff Flake, found himself crosswise with the state’s Republican base due to his continued loud opposition to Donald Trump. At the same time, his steadfastly conservative voting pattern failed to earn him sympathy from the state’s Democrats. He found himself trailing his likely Democratic opponent, Representative Kyrsten Sinema, but also found himself behind former state senator and conservative firebrand Kelli Ward.
Flake retired, and the GOP establishment initially struggled to find a replacement candidate to take on Ward in the primary. That changed when Martha McSally, the representative for the second district, opted to run for the seat. The entrance of controversial Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio has the potential to split the populist vote, and perhaps open the door for McSally to win. The general election polling to date has shown a competitive race.