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Arizona Senate and House primaries Tuesday

Rep. Jeff Flake faces businessman Wil Cardon for retiring Sen. Jon Kyl’s seat, while in the 6th District, two tea party freshmen GOP congressmen — Quayle and Schweikert.

With primary votes today, Arizona Republicans have some intense fights for nomination to the open U.S. Senate seat and several House seats on their hands.

Rep. Jeff Flake (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 96.73 percent) remains the favorite for nomination to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Jon Kyl. But like Ron Paul, Flake has a libertarian streak that irks some in his party. His support of free trade without restrictions, including trading with Cuba and other dictatorships, is a case in point. Some on the right have turned to his leading opponent, wealthy businessman Wil Cardon, and the businessman-contender has picked up the backing of several legislators and of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

But the party establishment — and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — and most Phoenix-area business leaders want Flake and as such, he is the favorite Tuesday. The Democratic candidate is former George W. Bush administration Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who switched from independent to Democrat to make the race.

Even more incendiary is the race for the redistricted 6th District, which is a heated clash between freshman GOP Reps. Ben Quayle (lifetime ACU rating:100 percent) an David Schweikert (lifetime ACU rating: 96 percent). Quayle moved to run in the district, which includes more than 60 percent of his former district. But Schweikert appears to be running the better campaign and has more backing among grass-roots conservatives, despite the fundraising advantage of the former vice presidentâ??s son.

Another incumbent who is facing intense criticism and a tough primary fight after a move is freshman Rep. Paul Gosar, who left his former district to run in the new (and safely Republican) 4th District. A 2010 favorite of the tea party, Gosar upset many of them when he voted to extend the debt ceiling last year. State Sen. Ron Gould of Mojave County is considered more conservative than Gosar and is courting the tea partiers.

There is also residual resentment from a number of GOP activists toward Gosar for leaving his former 3rd District, which is mostly the way it was when he won it two years ago. There is no strong Republican candidate for the seat and it is likely to be captured by liberal Democrat and former Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick, who Gosar unseated in 2010.

Rounding out the Republican battles royal is the race for Rep. Flakeâ??s seat. The congressmanâ??s predecessor and close friend, former Rep. (1994-2002) and State Party Chairman Matt Salmon, is locked in a tight race with state House Speaker Kirk Adams. In recent weeks,. Adams has hit hard at the better-known Salmon for working for a lobbying firm that tried to secure passage of Obamacare.

The proverbial â??silver liningâ? for the Grand Canyon State GOP is that once the primary is over, Republicans will join hands and the contested seats are very likely to go their way in November.

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com