Early ballots went in the mail this week for the primary election on Aug. 28. Races in Arizona have garnered national attention, and major parties are already looking ahead to the general election in November. Members of the Republican National Committee shared some of the strategies they're using in Arizona to win voter support.
"We want to make sure we've done everything we need to do in order to win," Dan Duffey said. Duffy is deputy state director of the Arizona Republican Party. The RNC has sharply increased its presence on the ground. Regional communications director Christiana Purves said it has more than 2,000 trained fellows in Arizona. For comparison, in 2016 the party only had 5,000 nationwide. Fellows help coordinate volunteers and register voters.
For Your Vote 2018, Arizona 360 is seeking interviews with all of the gubernatorial candidates who qualified for the primary ballot. We are focusing on their views about Arizona's economy and education funding. Among the five candidates, David Garcia is one of three Democrats on the ballot. Garcia is a professor at Arizona State University and previously ran for Arizona superintendent of public instruction in 2014.
Southwest Key, a national nonprofit that houses immigrant children, faces added scrutiny after recent reports that looked into sexual abuse allegations at its facilities. Its Tucson facility is in city Councilman Paul Durham's Ward 3. Durham shared his concerns with the nonprofit, including some of the challenges he's faced while attempting to learn more about the facility's operations.
Getting a better understanding about the care immigrant children receive when they are in the federal government's custody is a challenge for journalists and policymakers. Arizona 360 wanted to understand some of the psychological effects children in these circumstances may experience. We got insight from Andrea Romero, director of the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families. The institute does research in collaboration with the University of Arizona on childhood development.
Four months after the National Guard began deploying to border states, the guard is getting an expanded role at Arizona's ports of entry. In Nogales, Customs and Border Protection has about 140 vacancies at the ports of entry. About 40 guard troops are assisting customs officers. Col. Hoyt Slocum described some of their responsibilities.
Tariffs imposed by the Trump administration are already having an effect on the Farmers Investment Company, which operates a pecan farm in Sahuarita and exports about half of its products internationally. Company president Dick Walden told Arizona Public Media how more of his inventory is in cold storage because of retaliatory Chinese tariffs on American tree nuts. In his own words, Walden described the ripple effect ongoing trade conflicts could have on his 300 employees and his community.