Arizona congressional primaries: Here’s who is leading in state’s redrawn districts; Gosar wins

Incumbent Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., won the 9th Congressional District’s GOP primary,  per The Associated Press, which called the race Tuesday night./Photo by Pat Poblete/Cronkite News

By Tara Kavaler Gregory Svirnovskiy | Arizona Republic

Arizona voted Tuesday to select the congressional candidates who will represent their parties in the Nov. 8 general election.

Nominations were up for grabs in five of Arizona’s recently redrawn nine congressional districts.

The new 1st and 2nd congressional districts, held by Democratic incumbent Reps. Tom O’Halleran and Ann Kirkpatrick, are viewed as more friendly to Republicans. Democrats, meanwhile, hope they can flip the 1st District, where two first-time Democratic candidates are campaigning in the hopes of unseating incumbent Republican Rep. David Schweikert. 

Some challengers ran unopposed in their primaries: Republican Jeff Zink in the 3rd District, Democrat Javier Ramos in the 5th District; and Republican Luis Pozzolo in the 7th District. 

Incumbent Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., in the 8th Congressional District, had no primary challenger and has no Democratic opponent in the general election and is guaranteed to return for her third term in Congress. 

1st Congressional District

In early returns, with 65% of precincts reporting results, incumbent Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., has built a sizable lead over top challenger Elijah Norton. The Congressman, who is seeking a seventh term in the House of Representatives, has battled through a primary that has been complicated by ethics violations that led to a reprimand in the House back in 2020. He was bolstered by a somewhat unexpected endorsement from former President Donald Trump in June.

Because of redistricting, the 1st Congressional District’s borders capture much of the region east and northeast of Phoenix, including Scottsdale, Rio Verde, Cave Creek and Paradise Valley. Seventy-five percent of the district used to be in the former 6th Congressional District. 

Schweikert, who has represented the 6th District, remains the incumbent in the reordered Republican primary. The district is competitive but leans slightly to the right.

Republican primary 

Schweikert has been dogged by a string of ethics and campaign finance violations that earned the six-term member of Congress a reprimand in the House of Representatives and a combined $175,000 in fines from Congress and the Federal Elections Commission. 

He’s been challenged by political newcomer and businessperson Norton, who centered much of his congressional campaign on calling out Schweikert’s ethics violations. Then there’s Josh Barnett, a small business owner whose rise to political prominence has been keyed by continued denials of the validity of the 2020 election. 

Despite Schweikert’s incumbency advantage, Norton outpaced him in campaign donations and disbursements. As of July 13, he had outspent Schweikert by a 4-to-1 margin, processing more than $3 million more than Schweikert. But Schweikert received the coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

All three Republican candidates listed border safety and immigration as among their priorities. And each championed conservative fiscal policies aimed at bringing down the federal deficit, inflation and high taxes.

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