There was a time when conservative Republicans dictated the direction of the party. When those with the most right-wing beliefs and an ardent commitment not to compromise set the agenda for county, state and federal issues.

Next week, we will know whether that’s changed in Cochise County and Arizona.

Principled conservatives are challenging for leadership of the Board of Supervisors and Arizona’s U.S. Senate seat. Their success in the Aug. 4 primary will go a long way in deciding the direction of the Republican Party.

Early ballots should be put in the mail not later than Friday, July 31, to assure delivery in time for Tuesday’s election. If you forget, or otherwise can’t get your ballot in the mail, stop by any of the county offices in Bisbee, Willcox, Benson or Sierra Vista and drop off your early ballot. Polls will open early Tuesday morning for those who prefer to cast their ballot in person.

In Cochise County, we’re watching the outcome of two key races for seats on the Board of Supervisors.

Incumbent Tom Borer in District 1 is challenged by former Sierra Vista council member Tom Crosby on the Republican ballot. In District 3, incumbent Peggy Judd is challenged by businesswoman Heather Floyd. Winners of each contest will earn the Republican nomination and will be unopposed on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Complete information on all the board candidates was published in the Herald/Review July 8 and is available online on the website at myheraldreview.com.

The contest in District 2 is on the ballot for Democrats. Incumbent Ann English is being challenged by Jerry Curfman, a general contractor in Douglas. The winner of this contest may face two challengers, including Republican Lori Kilpatrick and possibly Anna Eickenbrock, an independent who needs enough write-in votes on Tuesday to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Crosby and Kilpatrick are outspoken conservatives. Both have pointed to the ongoing cost of the public safety retirement fund as a major issue and vow to reduce the cost of government.

At the federal level, incumbent U.S. Senator Martha McSally is being challenged by Daniel McCarthy, a Phoenix-area businessman.

McCarthy points to his support for President Trump’s border wall, strict immigration policies and his plan to eliminate the Department of Education. He has repeatedly stated the best reason he should earn the Republican nomination are his conservative values.

The outcome of the primary election on Tuesday will go a long way in determining the political influence of conservative ideals within the Republican Party.

You can shape that outcome by participating in the process. Make sure to turn in your early ballot promptly, or plan to cast your vote in person when the polls open on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

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