● AZ-Sen (R): National Republicans are supporting Rep. Martha McSally in the three-way primary to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff Flake. McSally's main opponent is former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who lost the 2016 primary to try and unseat John McCain by a relatively close 51-40 margin. However, disgraced former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is also in, and he’s not only drawing from the same pool of far-right anti-establishment voters as Ward, he's dedicated the final weeks of his campaign to undermining her.
While a major Democratic outside group and a pro-Ward super PAC funded by megadonor Robert Mercer have run ads attacking McSally, her allies have also been spending heavily to help her. A recent poll from the GOP firm OH Predictive Insights for ABC15 gave McSally a huge 47-27 lead over Ward, while GOP pollster Data Orbital had McSally ahead 48-22. The Republican nominee will take on Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is the heavy favorite in the Democratic primary.
● AZ-Gov (D): Three Democrats are competing to take on GOP Gov. Doug Ducey. Arizona State University professor David Garcia, who narrowly lost the 2014 general election for state schools superintendent, has consistently led in the few polls we’ve seen, and a recent survey from the GOP firm OH Predictive Insights for ABC15 gave him a 40-25 lead over state Sen. Steve Farley. Activist Kelly Fryer is also in, but she's raised little money and not polled well. National Republicans seem convinced Garcia will be their opponent, and they've already aired ads against him. (Update: This post originally said the RGA had already spent $9 million against Garcia, when they’d really reserved that much in total TV time and have already spent an unknown amount.)
● OK-Gov (R): Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett took first place with 29 percent in the late June primary, while wealthy businessman Kevin Stitt edged Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb 24.4-23.9 for the second runoff spot. Plenty of negative ads have flown in the last two months, with Stitt arguing that Cornett didn't support Donald Trump in 2016 and Cornett and his allies taking aim at Stitt's stewardship of his insurance company. Two polls from early August gave Stitt the lead, and former Sen. Tom Coburn endorsed him in the final week of the race. The winner will take on former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic nomination without a runoff in June.
● AZ-01 (R) (48-47 Trump, 50-48 Romney): Republicans hope that freshman Democratic Rep. Tom O'Halleran will be vulnerable in this competitive seat, which includes a sprawling swath of northern Arizona and some of Tucson's suburbs, and three Republicans are competing to take him on.
State Sen. Steve Smith may be best known for raising money through a crowd-funding effort in a years-long attempt to build a border fence, a campaign he abandoned in 2015 after bringing in just $200,000. Smith's fundraising for this campaign hasn't gone too well either, and he's been outspent by both Air Force veteran and perennial candidate Wendy Rogers as well as farmer Tiffany Shedd. Rogers, who ran here in 2016 and took third place in the primary with 22 percent, spent $297,000 during the pre-primary period (which the FEC defines as July 1 to Aug. 8), while Shedd edged Smith $227,000 to $140,000.
● AZ-02 (D) (50-45 Clinton, 50-48 Romney): GOP Rep. Martha McSally's Senate campaign gives Democrats a big pickup opportunity in this Tucson-area seat. The GOP has consolidated behind Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce leader Lea Marquez Peterson, who faces only weak primary opposition, but things are much more competitive on the Democratic side. The two contenders who have spent a serious amount of money are former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, who represented the neighboring 1st District until she unsuccessfully ran for the Senate in 2016, and former state Rep. Matt Heinz, who lost the 2016 general to McSally 57-43.
Kirkpatrick has the support of the DCCC and EMILY's List as well as former Reps. Gabby Giffords and Ron Barber, who both represented this seat. She also outspent Heinz $685,000 to $453,000 during the pre-primary period, and EMILY has spent over $500,000 to help her. However, Heinz released a poll earlier this month giving him a 31-26 lead, and Kirkpatrick and her allies never responded with better numbers.
The contest has gotten quite negative. Heinz has attacked Kirkpatrick as a carpetbagger, and he’s run a commercial that featured her bragging about her A-rating from the NRA in 2010. Kirkpatrick and EMILY's List have in turn run ads declaring that Heinz is the one who is too conservative on guns, and that he also voted with the GOP to slash healthcare benefits. Heinz also stirred up controversy in the final week of the race when he compared Kirkpatrick to a meth addict for her desire to return to Congress.
● AZ-07 (D) (72-23 Clinton, 72-27 Obama): Sophomore Rep. Ruben Gallego faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Catherine Miranda in this safely blue Phoenix seat, though it seems half-hearted at best. Miranda infamously endorsed Republican Doug Ducey when he successfully ran for governor in 2014, voted to ban abortion at 20 weeks, voted to defund Planned Parenthood, and even signed a "pro-life pledge." Luckily for Gallego, Miranda has reported raising little money.
● FL-05 (D) (61-36 Clinton, 64-35 Obama): The primary for this safely blue seat is a duel between freshman Rep. Al Lawson, a longtime politician in the Tallahassee area, and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown. Both men are African-American and have moderate reputations, and geography seems to be the biggest dividing line, though Brown has attacked Lawson as insufficiently progressive. (Trump notoriously thanked Lawson after he applauded Trump during his State of the Union address.) It doesn’t seem to be working, though: A mid-August survey from St. Pete Polls found Lawson ahead 50-28, while a University of North Florida poll released in the final week of the race had the incumbent up 48-29.
● FL-06 (R & D) (57-40 Trump, 52-47 Romney): GOP Rep. Ron DeSantis is leaving this seat, which includes all of Volusia County in the Orlando area as well as some of Jacksonville's southern suburbs, to run for governor.
The GOP primary is a three-way race between former state Rep. Fred Costello, wealthy businessman John Ward, and businessman Michael Waltz, a former Dick Cheney foreign policy adviser. Both Ward and Waltz have been self-funding much of their campaigns, and they've run ads arguing that the other has not supported Donald Trump vigorously enough. Costello, who lost the 2016 primary to DeSantis 61-25, has brought in considerably less money than his two opponents. A mid-August poll from St. Pete Polls gave Waltz a 40-21 lead over Ward.
National Democrats have consolidated behind Clinton-era Deputy National Security Adviser Nancy Soderberg, who has been a strong fundraiser. She faces two opponents, radiologist Stephen Sevigny and travel agency owner John Upchurch, who have each brought in a credible amount of money. However, a recent St. Pete Polls survey gave Soderberg a large 50-19 lead over Sevigny.
● FL-07 (R) (51-44 Clinton, 49-49 Obama): Democrat Stephanie Murphy unseated longtime GOP Rep. John Mica in 2016 in this suburban Orlando seat, but it looks likely that Republicans won’t concentrate on this race this year. Still, two notable Republicans are duking it out. State Rep. Mike Miller has Sen. Marco Rubio's support, and he has experience winning in a competitive state House seat. Businessman Scott Sturgill, who has been doing some self-funding, outspent Miller $226,000 to $168,000 during the pre-primary period. A recent St. Pete Polls survey gave Miller a 42-26 lead.
● FL-09 (D) (55-42 Clinton, 56-43 Obama): Freshman Rep. Darren Soto faces a Democratic primary challenge from his predecessor, former Rep. Alan Grayson, in this reliably blue suburban Orlando seat.
Grayson and national Democratic leaders despise one another. The party establishment universally sided with then-Rep. Patrick Murphy when they both ran in the 2016 primary for Senate, and Grayson's attracted his share of awful headlines for years on topics ranging from potential ethics violations to alleged domestic abuse. However, a mid-August SurveyUSA poll gave Soto just a 45-38 lead, and the incumbent has taken Grayson seriously enough to run negative ads against him. Soto outspent Grayson by a massive $492,000 to $86,000 margin during the pre-primary period, though Grayson had plenty of money left for the final weeks.
● FL-15 (R & D) (53-43 Trump, 52-47 Romney): GOP Rep. Dennis Ross unexpectedly decided to retire weeks before the filing deadline from this central Florida seat. The two main GOP candidates are state Rep. Ross Spano, who is backed by Marco Rubio, and former state Rep. Neil Combee, who resigned from the legislature in November to briefly serve as state executive director for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service. Both candidates have spent a comparable amount of money, and outside groups have not spent much here. Early polls gave Spano the lead, but a St. Pete Polls survey from the final week of the race had Combee ahead by a narrow 32-29.
Democrats haven't made a serious play for this district in years, but they're hoping Ross' departure will give them a bigger opening. Navy veteran Andrew Learned entered the race well before Ross retired, while attorney Kristen Carlson jumped in just before filing closed. Carlson outspent Learned by a wide $196,000 to $78,000 margin, and a late July SurveyUSA poll found her ahead 31-12.
● FL-17 (R) (62-35 Trump, 58-41 Romney): GOP Rep. Tom Rooney is retiring from this safely red seat, which includes part of the Sarasota area as well as areas further inland. The two main candidates are state Rep. Julio Gonzalez and state Sen. Greg Steube.
Gonzalez has the support of Sen. Marco Rubio and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while Steube is backed the NRA and the radical anti-tax Club for Growth. The Club has spent a considerable $783,000 in this race, while the Chamber doesn't appear to be spending anything to boost Gonzalez. However, the Conservative Leadership Alliance, which often opposes the Club in GOP primaries, has expended $200,000 to aid Gonzalez. Steube outspent Gonzalez $308,000 to $248,000 during the pre-primary period, and his allies at the Club released a mid-August poll giving him a 39-16 lead.
● FL-18 (D) (53-44 Trump, 51-48 Romney): Democrats are hoping to target freshman GOP Rep. Brian Mast in this coastal seat, which includes St. Lucie County, Martin County, and the northern part of Palm Beach County. The DCCC and several unions are backing former State Department official Lauren Baer. The other primary candidate is Navy veteran Pam Keith, who took 15 percent statewide in the 2016 Senate primary and has tried to make national Democrats' support for Baer a campaign issue. Baer is a considerably stronger fundraiser than Keith, and she outspent her $416,000 to $64,000 during the pre-primary period.
● FL-27 (D & R) (59-39 Clinton, 53-46 Obama): Entrenched GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's retirement gives Democrats one of their best pickup opportunities anywhere in the nation. On the Democratic side, every poll has agreed that former University of Miami president and longtime Clinton ally Donna Shalala is the frontrunner over state Rep. David Richardson and former Miami Herald reporter Matt Haggman.
A survey for Shalala that was released in the final week of the race gave her a 36-18 lead over Richardson, with Haggman at 10. Earlier in August, Richardson dropped a poll showing him trailing Shalala 32-20, with Haggman far behind; Haggman also had released his own survey giving Shalala the lead with 26 percent, while he edged Richardson 16-15 for second. Richardson, who has portrayed Shalala as too conservative, especially on health care, did narrowly outspend her $560,000 to $538,000 during the pre-primary period, with Haggman deploying $284,000. Two other Democrats are in, but they've spent little and polled poorly.
Republicans are hoping they can still put up a fight in this Miami-area seat, where GOP candidates usually do better down ballot than they do in presidential races. The frontrunner is local Spanish-language TV journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro is also competing, but he trailed even in his own July poll.
● OK-01 (R) (61-33 Trump, 66-34 Romney): Former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris took first place in the June primary with 27 percent, while wealthy businessman Kevin Hern wasn't far behind with 23 percent. While the first round of the primary attracted plenty of outside spending, the runoff has been much quieter. Hern outspent Harris by a hefty $340,000 to $69,000 during the pre-primary period, while a late July survey from SoonerPoll had Harris up 38-26.
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