Heated GOP governor's race leads AZ primary today - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Heated GOP governor's race leads AZ primary today

PHOENIX (CBS5/AP) -

The polls are open and Arizona voters began casting votes in the state's primary elections Tuesday.

There are some important points to consider this year.

  • The Republican race for governor is crowded and heated with six candidates vying to replace outgoing Gov. Jan Brewer.
  • Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in most of the state Tuesday and results will become available about 8 p.m.
  • Dark money: CBS 5 News has shown groups not affiliated with the campaigns are making large contributions that pay for attack ads.
  • Independents can vote for anyone in any party, but must pick either a GOP or Democratic ballots.
  • And most Democrats are running unopposed while many Republicans are battling for votes, especially in the super tight governor's race.

GOP gubernatorial candidates in the hunt are Secretary of State Ken Bennett, state Treasurer Doug Ducey, former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and former California congressman Frank Riggs.

It's possible the GOP winner will advance to the November general election with less than 30 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Fred DuVal, who is running unopposed.

"Well, it appears that Doug Ducey, the state treasurer, is starting to pull away," political analyst Jaime Molera told CBS 5 News.

"Scott Smith has had a game plan that is unique in a Republican primary in that, most people, if you are a Democrat, you go to the left, if you are a Republican, you go to the right," Molera said. "Smith has gone to the middle. And his strategy has been not only to go after the Republican middle, but to go after independents."

Mike Aloisi and Alice Lukasik are running as write-in Republican candidates. Libertarian Barry Hess and Americans Elect John Lewis Mealer and Janelle Wood are also vying for the spot.

Voters in a congressional district that runs from Flagstaff to the Tucson suburbs are choosing from among three Republicans battling for a chance to take on Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the general election.

In Phoenix, voters are choosing a Democratic successor to longtime Rep. Ed Pastor.

Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman and rancher Gary Kiehne are seeking the Republican nomination in the 1st District. The swing district already is attracting big money from national parties.

Former state Rep. Ruben Gallego and one-time Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox are leading the 7th Congressional District race. Whoever wins Tuesday's primary is expected to succeed Pastor.

Republicans Wendy Rogers and Andrew Walter are vying for a chance to unseat Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the 9th District.

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne hopes to fight off a Republican challenger when voters head to the polls.

The Republican is facing a tough challenge from former state gaming department Director Mark Brnovich in the Tuesday's GOP primary. Whoever wins will take on Democrat Felecia Rotellini in November.

Horne has been dogged for years by campaign finance allegations against him. His legal problems have cost him support among the GOP establishment and Gov. Jan Brewer has endorsed Brnovich.

Horne calls the allegations false and says voters should look at his two Supreme Court wins and his expanded consumer protections and fight against child sex trafficking.

Brnovich says Horne's legal troubles make him unfit for the job.

John Huppenthal's bid for a second term as superintendent of public instruction ran into a snag when he admitted making offensive anonymous postings while serving as Arizona's top education official. He will now find out if he can survive.

Huppenthal is running in the Republican primary against Diane Douglas, a former suburban school board member. She has made repealing the Obama administration's Common Core standards her main campaign issue.

She was given a gift when it was revealed that Huppenthal made anonymous online rants. He called welfare recipients "lazy pigs" who mooch off the government, among other insults.

Huppenthal broke down in tears at a news conference as he apologized. He also said voters he encounters during campaign stops worry more about education in Arizona.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said her office has already counted almost 300,000 ballots and will be part of the results released at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

She reminded voters that early ballots can still be dropped off at any polling place in Maricopa County.

Cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News brings you complete coverage, from stories, to photos, to live streaming video to special reports to results and much more.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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