Arizona voters are guaranteed to send a woman to the Senate this November. It’s just not yet clear what side of the aisle she’ll stand on.
Thanks to Rep. Martha McSally and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema’s victories in Arizona’s Republican and Democratic primaries, respectively, a record-breaking six Senate races will now feature women running against women, according to Gender Watch 2018. Twenty-six House races will also be all-women.
But the news wasn’t all good for female candidates in Tuesday night’s primaries. Two women, Arizona’s Kelly Fryer and Florida’s Gwen Graham, fell short in their gubernatorial bids. And in Oklahoma, A Amanda Douglas lost her chance to become one of the country’s first Native American congresswomen.
We broke the news down by state.
Arizona, a battleground state, is now guaranteed to elect its first female senator come November.
- McSally crushed former state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat. With Ward and Arpaio scrapping for the far-right vote, McSally framed herself as a moderate and took a consistent lead in the polls. Last week, McSally had already pivoted toward the general election — which meant bashing her now-opponent Sinema for “protesting us in a pink tutu” while McSally served in the military.
FYI: In a series of choices that aged incredibly poorly (and quickly) , Ward first suggested the late Sen. John McCain was somehow to blame for Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts’ death, then indicated that McCain tried to hurt her race by announcing he was ending his cancer treatments. (She later apologized for the latter.) Finally, after McCain’s death, Ward tweeted, “Political correctness is like a cancer!” McCain, of course, died from cancer. Real cancer.
- Sinema, on the other hand, had almost no competition for the Democratic nomination, which left her free to fundraise more than $10 million over the past several months. The race between her will be a nail-biter: The nonpartisan Cook Political Report calls the seat a “toss-up,” and Sinema currently leads McSally in the polls, according to a RealClearPolitics analysis.
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick will officially compete against Republican Lea Marquez Peterson for Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. McSally’s run for Senate left the seat wide open, and it’s a prized target for Democrats this year.
Republican state lawmaker Sine Kerr obliterated Don Shooter’s attempted comeback to the state Legislature, after he got kicked out earlier this year for alleged sexual harassment. Shooter tried to argue that voters were more likely to support a legislator who’d been accused of sexual harassment and ran on exciting campaign slogans like, “MAKE A LIBERALS [sic] HEAD EXPLODE!”
Florida won’t get its first female governor this year.
- Gwen Graham seemed like the clear victor in the Democratic gubernatorial primary just a few weeks ago. But the moderate ultimately lost to Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in a stunning upset, after national figures like Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and billionaire George Soros lent Gillum their support. Gillum is now the first African-American to be nominated for Florida governor by a major party, while Florida remains one of the 22 states that have never had a female governor.
- Republican TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar will battle Democrat Donna Shalala, who once served in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet, for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen seat in Florida’s 27th Congressional District. Ros-Lehtinen is a Republican, but Democrats are hoping to flip the seat, which includes most of Miami and has trended blue in recent years. (In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district by about 20 percentage points.)
FYI: Ros-Lehtinen, a moderate and the first Cuban-American elected to Congress, said she’s leaving Congress because she wants a “new adventure.” But she’s also no fan of Trump: “One of the best decisions I made was not endorsing Trump,” she told the Miami Herald . “Every day, I’m feeling so much better about it. Oh my gosh, I wake up with a smile on my face.”
Oklahoma voters will have a chance to break up the state’s all-male congressional delegation.
- Two women running for congressional offices, Mary Brannon in the 4th District and Kendra Horn in the 5th, won their Democratic primary runoffs Tuesday. But Amanda Douglas lost the state’s 1st District — and, with it, the chance to become one of the country’s first Native American congresswomen.
FYI: Oklahoma is one of 11 states without any women currently serving in Congress.
Cover image: U.S. senatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., celebrates her primary election victory, Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. McSally will face U.S. Rep. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., in the November election as they seek the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)