Pundits and politicos speculated throughout 2018 if a blue wave would sweep Arizona's midterm election. By summer, the Republican National Committee stepped up its presence in the state with more than 2,000 trained fellows who could coordinate volunteers and register voters on the ground. For comparison, the party had 5,000 fellows nationwide in 2016.
Meantime, the Arizona Democratic Party was enthusiastic about a surge in engagement following the presidential election. In August, partisan politics briefly came to a halt as Arizona and the country mourned the passing of Sen. John McCain. Shortly after, Gov. Ducey appointed Jon Kyl to McCain's seat. Kyl had retired from the Senate several years earlier and agreed to only serve through the end of the year.
After the primary, speculation intensified about whether Democrats could flip seats in federal and state races. Through a series of debates hosted by Arizona Public Media, voters heard from candidates running for governor, the 2nd Congressional District and hte 3rd Congressional District. The most closely watched race was the neck-and-neck contest between Reps. Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema for U.S. Senate. Following Election Day, it would take several more days for McSally to concede, making Sinema Arizona's first female Senator.
In December, Arizonans learned they would be represented by both women, when Ducey appointed McSally to succeed Kyl in January. In 2020, voters will decide if she should keep the seat and finish out McCain's term through 2022.