The race for retiring Arizona Republican Jeff Flake's U.S. Senate seat is a muddled battleground this year, and that could be good news for Democrats.
While the GOP candidates are embroiled in an intraparty battle ahead of Tuesday's primary, the anticipated Democratic nominee, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, is pouring millions of dollars into ads targeting independent voters who are key to flipping the seat.
In an all-out fight for the GOP nod, two conservative firebrands are splitting up the Arizona party's base. It has given establishment pick Rep. Martha McSally a consistent polling advantage. Seen as a pragmatic legislator who could pick up moderate voters, McSally is expected to beat Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an immigration hardliner whom President Donald Trump pardoned over a criminal contempt conviction.
Flake bowed out of his re-election bid after facing a revolt from the Arizona Republican base over his public criticism of the president. Unlike Flake, the three GOP candidates in Tuesday's primary have backed Trump.
But the Republican candidates have failed to engage with the independent and moderate voters who will likely determine the election outcome, GOP strategists said.
Sinema has a commanding lead over civil rights attorney Deedra Abboud in polls ahead of the Democratic primary.