Tuesday had a bunch of primaries, but Florida and Arizona caught my eyes.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a progressive backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), managed to win the Democrat primary for the Florida governor race and is the first black nominee for the position. Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), defeated former state senator Kelli Ward and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary to take over retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat.

Florida

Gillum shocked many with his win as the others in the primary led in pre-election polls. But as I’ve said many times since November 2016, it’s hard to take polls seriously!

From The Miami Herald:

With 94 percent of the votes counted, Gillum had an unofficial 3 percentage point lead over his closest rival, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. Gillum overwhelmed Graham in Miami-Dade and Broward, the state’s two largest Democratic counties, by more than a 2-to-1 margin, in the highest turnout for a midterm primary election in Florida history.

“I am overwhelmed,” Gillum told a cheering crowd of supporters at a victory party at Hotel Duval in downtown Tallahassee. “I want you to know that this thing is not about me. This race is about every single one of us. Those of us inside this room. Those outside of this room. Those who voted for me. Those who didn’t vote at all. And those who didn’t vote for me because they are Republicans. But I want to be their governor, too.”

Gillum’s agenda squares with Sanders, such as “Medicare for all, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and staunch opposition to the Stand Your Ground self-defense law.”

One woman, Bernadette Albury, told The New York Times that many of the other candidates “focused on negative views of Trump and to be honest, that’s not relevant to Florida.” It also shows that Florida Democrats are sick of their party “nominating cautious, centrist candidates who have tried and failed to appeal to Republicans in the November election.”

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/28/us/elections/florida-primary-elections.html

Via The New York Times

Arizona

McSally won her primary by taking in 52.7% of the votes over Ward and Arpaio. She will take on Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November, which should be a heated competition. From The Wall Street Journal:

Although Mr. Flake was one of Mr. Trump’s most outspoken GOP critics, the primary to succeed him focused on who could claim to be the president’s closest ally. Ms. McSally, who had kept her distance from Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign and has refused to say whether she voted for him, tacked to the right and portrayed herself as a Trump loyalist.

McSally and Sinema now have the opportunity to become the first woman senator from Arizona. Sinema is trying to become the first Democrat to win the seat since 1976. From AZCentral.com:

That the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, is even in play is reflective of a traditionally red state trending toward purple at a level not seen in recent memory.

Arizona voters have not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Dennis DeConcini, an old-fashioned centrist, who won the seat in 1976 after defeating Republican Sam Steiger for the open seat and served three terms.

“It’s crucial to Democratic hopes of taking control of the Senate, it’s just hard to see how they would do it without Arizona,” said John J. “Jack” Pitney Jr., a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California.

“If somehow they take control of the Senate, Democrats would control the confirmation process, making it extremely difficult for Trump to get his way.”

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/08/28/us/elections/arizona-primary-elections.html

Via The New York Times