Inside the fight for Latino voters in Arizona

Latino voters could help decide several competitive races in Arizona this election cycle. That's why Republicans and Democrats are making their best pitches to win this vital constituency.

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 2:38 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2018 2:55 PM

Florida and Arizona hold primaries on Tuesday, teeing up the House and Senate races that will be critical to the balance of power in Washington come November.

Democrats must hold on to Sen. Bill Nelson's seat and Florida and win in Arizona's Senate race in order to have a shot a taking the majority in the Senate.

In Arizona, a Republican Senate candidate's reaction to Sen. John McCain's ailing health caused a last-minute controversy. In Florida, the Senate contest is already set, but both parties will select their nominees for governor in what is expected to be a competitive race in November.

Oklahoma is also holding a runoff election to determine who will be the Republican gubernatorial nominee. Democrats are eyeing this race as a potential flip this year.

What we'll learn tonight

WILL MCCAIN'S PASSING CHANGE THE RACE? Former state Sen. Kelli Ward walked back comments late Monday about the timing of the McCain family announcing he was stopping medical treatment and a tweet saying political correctness is a cancer. She apologized but also said the media misinterpreted some of her comments. McCain, who represented Arizona in both houses of Congress for more than 30 years, wasn't exactly embraced by any of the candidates in the race -- Ward, GOP Rep. Martha McSally or former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

They all ran towards President Donald Trump, in a sign of his hold over Republican voters. Ward was already lagging behind McSally, the establishment's favorite to defeat the likely Democratic nominee in the fall.

HAS TRUMP PERMANENTLY CHANGED THE GOP PRIMARY GAME? The President's endorsement of Rep. Ron DeSantis immediately affected the GOP contest to replace Gov. Rick Scott. DeSantis is riding the wave of the Trump endorsement with a smaller ground game than his top rival, state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Most statewide races come down to strong outreach and heavy media buys in Florida's diverse areas and media markets, but Trump's nod of approval may change that for Republicans. His strong support from the northern panhandle through the Gulf Coast in the South could prove that a tweet is mightier than the door knock.

CAN PROGRESSIVE DEMS SURPRISE? Progressives Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated powerful New York Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary in June, have both supported underdogs in key Florida Democratic primaries. If either Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum or activist Michael Hepburn can beat their better-known opponents, it would be a boost to the progressive movement, but it also might hurt Democrat's chances of flipping a vulnerable governor's mansion and House seat. Tonight's Democratic winner and the margin of victory will say a lot about the left in Florida. A united Democratic Party in Florida is vital to break the almost two decades-long GOP rule in Tallahassee, and with at least seven Republican-held congressional districts at play to flip, control of Congress may hinge on it as well.

What to watch tonight

ARIZONA (polls close 10 p.m. ET)

Flake's retirement after just one term gives Democrats one of their best shots at picking up a Senate seat. The GOP establishment hopes McSally can hold off far-right candidates Ward and the controversial Arpaio. Trump has yet to endorse a candidate in the race, having positive things to say about all three of them. On the Democratic side, Sinema is expected to easily defeat attorney Deedra Abboud and is already campaigning for November. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey could also be vulnerable this fall. Since the six-day teachers strike this past spring, education has emerged as a key issue in the race. Democrat David Garcia, an Arizona State University professor, is focusing on his experience in the area, but he faces tough challengers from State Sen. Steve Farley and Kelly Fryer, the CEO of the YWCA Southern Arizona.

CNN views more than half of Arizona's congressional districts as in play this year, with the 2nd District vacated by McSally as the most likely to flip. Hillary Clinton won the district in 2016, giving a strong start to either former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick or 2016 nominee Matt Heinz, who are locked in a tight race for the nomination. The winner will be an immediate target of Republicans looking to keep control of the House.

FLORIDA (all polls closed at 8 p.m. ET)

Nelson's seat is vital in the battle for Senate control; both he and GOP Gov. Rick Scott are expected to skate through the primary to the general. The big drama will be in the primaries to replace Scott. On the Republican side, DeSantis hopes an endorsement from Trump will outweigh Putnam's attacks on DeSantis as an out-of-touch creature of Washington. On the Democratic side, Former Rep. Gwen Graham and Philip Levine, the former mayor of Miami Beach, look to be the front runners for the Democratic nomination. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum could surprise Democrats here. Democrats think any of the three can win, pointing to the slim margin they lost by in 2014. In the House, keep an eye on the 27th District being vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. CNN rates the race Lean Democrat. In the Democratic primary, former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala faces tough challenges from State Rep. David Richardson and Michael Hepburn, a former academic adviser at the University of Miami. On the Republican side, the endorsement from the Miami Herald could propel former Doral councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, who claims to have been abducted by aliens, to a stronger-than expected finish as she and several other Republicans try to catch front-runner Maria Elvira Salazar, a former TV reporter. CNN ranks eight Florida races as vulnerable in November, only one of which is currently held by a Democrat.

OKLAHOMA (all polls closed at 8 p.m. ET)

Runoff primary races in Oklahoma don't normally get a lot of attention, but the Sooner State could be see a big victory for Democrats this year. Republican Gov. Mary Fallin's popularity has fallen dramatically in her final months in office, giving Democrats some optimism that former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson could be her replacement. Democrats describe Edmondson's time in office as 'someone who fights for the little guy.' Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt will face off in the Republican runoff Tuesday. Democrats admit Cornett's time in office in one of the state's biggest cities would put up a stronger fight in the fall. Stitt's business practices have come under scrutiny, giving Democrats hope should he prevail over the former mayor, they will have a strong chance to win.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 67649

Reported Deaths: 1912
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5613118
DeSoto365831
Harrison252036
Madison242266
Rankin228334
Jackson227642
Jones189958
Forrest180656
Washington166341
Lee146241
Lauderdale141292
Neshoba128692
Lamar122014
Oktibbeha112239
Bolivar111334
Warren109333
Lowndes107737
Panola105913
Sunflower103925
Scott100320
Lafayette97316
Copiah95428
Pike93636
Leflore93363
Holmes89248
Grenada84721
Yazoo83112
Pontotoc8278
Lincoln81741
Monroe79655
Simpson79630
Leake78825
Wayne76721
Coahoma76013
Tate73429
Marshall6959
Marion67720
Union63616
Adams62325
Winston62016
Covington61213
George5815
Pearl River55039
Newton54211
Tallahatchie53110
Attala52225
Walthall50220
Chickasaw46219
Noxubee45711
Alcorn4285
Calhoun4189
Tishomingo4175
Prentiss41210
Claiborne40713
Smith40513
Clay39614
Hancock39014
Jasper3869
Tippah36613
Itawamba35910
Tunica3377
Clarke32726
Montgomery3265
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31510
Humphreys29311
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25012
Perry2367
Webster23412
Kemper23314
Amite2326
Jefferson Davis2316
Wilkinson21213
Stone1995
Sharkey1975
Jefferson1967
Benton1441
Choctaw1344
Franklin1272
Issaquena261
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 99390

Reported Deaths: 1733
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13109243
Mobile9947207
Montgomery6835148
Madison537834
Tuscaloosa421373
Unassigned359961
Baldwin354425
Shelby328335
Marshall316736
Lee267845
Morgan239318
Etowah212131
DeKalb181913
Calhoun178414
Elmore172338
Walker152664
Houston139812
Russell13682
St. Clair133817
Limestone133313
Dallas132323
Franklin127420
Cullman122512
Colbert118113
Autauga116921
Lauderdale116719
Escambia108217
Talladega102614
Jackson9894
Tallapoosa85579
Chambers84138
Dale83424
Blount8004
Chilton7926
Butler76436
Coffee7616
Covington73520
Pike7097
Clarke6629
Barbour5755
Marion57424
Lowndes57224
Marengo55215
Hale47626
Bullock46411
Winston45311
Perry4424
Bibb4385
Wilcox42910
Monroe4214
Randolph40110
Pickens4009
Conecuh39310
Washington39112
Sumter36018
Lawrence3491
Macon33514
Crenshaw3185
Choctaw28312
Cherokee2737
Henry2633
Geneva2611
Clay2585
Greene25111
Lamar2222
Fayette2075
Cleburne1271
Coosa1012
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