Meet the candidates: Congressional primaries in Arizona today

(For a full list of candidates, see the Arizona portal.)

By Congresspedia assistant editor Avelino Maestas

Arizonans head to the polls today for a number of local and federal primary races, while Sen. John McCain is in St. Paul preparing to receive the GOP nomination for president during the Republican National Convention. And though he’s in the national spotlight, Arizona Republicans are hoping he can help out in done-ballot races come November. With one open seat (due to the retirement of Republican Rep. Rick Renzi) and several other contested races, Arizona will factor heavily in the battle for control of Congress this year.

Open seats usually attract a large number of candidates, and Renzi’s seat in the 1st congressional district is no exception. Congresspedia’s citizen-journalists have identified four Democrats and five Republicans vying for the general election ballot. For the GOP, Barry Hall, Tom Hansen, Sydney Hay, Preston Korn and Sandra Livingstone are in the running. Hay has name recognition from the 2000 primary and a fundraising advantage, but Livingstone drew the support (and endorsements) of some prominent Republicans in the district. The winner will likely face Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, a former state lawmaker, in the November general election.

There are two other contested primaries in Arizona today, in the 5th and 6th districts.

Incumbent Rep. Harry Mitchell (D) is uncontested in the 5th CD primary, but six Republicans are angling for the shot to challenge him. They include two former state lawmakers (Mark Anderson and Laura Knaperek), two former lobbyists (Jim Ogsbury and Susan Bitter Smith), former Maricopa County treasurer David Schweikert and political newcomer Lee Gentry.

In the 6th district, two Democrats are on the ballot to take on Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in November. Rebecca Schneider is the library supervisor for Arizona State University, and Chris Gramazio is a trucking company account manager. Neither candidate has held or run for office before.

As part of our Wiki the Vote project, our citizen-editors have been tallying all the races and building profiles of many of the candidates. We’ll have more on the winners Wednesday (including job descriptions for challengers), so stay tuned then. In the meantime, if you know something about any of the races listed above, or any race in the country, we want to hear from you. Log in to our Wiki the Vote project, find your state, and upload some information about a candidate or incumbent there. It’s easy, and you can always ask one of our staff editors for help.