“It is the Republicans’ fault for this to happen. It is their unwillingness to govern,” said Chuck Coughlin, a seasoned GOP strategist in Arizona. And under Trump’s party, you are just slandering people, not getting ideas. “
“As Senator John McCain would say, ‘It’s always darkest before it’s all black.’ In this case, black is blue. I hope the party will give some thought to the soul, ”added Coughlin.
Republicans will continue to control the number of nationwide positions, including the governorship and attorney general’s office. But one big night for Democrats could result in the GOP losing the presidential election for the first time since 1996, a Senate seat, both chambers of the state assembly and control of the state corporation commission.
The races in Arizona didn’t get that much attention given the millions of dollars pumped into the president’s matchup and the expensive race between the appointed Republican senator. Martha McSally and Kelly, who could help leave the Senate to the Democrats. But it is the way to turn this state legislature around where many Republicans are pondering the long-term effects of Trump’s GOP.
“The Republican Party needs to understand that there are large numbers of us voting for Democrats because of Trump, and we need to recognize that our decision to blindly follow him has implications for state policy,” said Daniel Barker, a former Arizona Appeals Court judge who founded Arizona Republicans Who Believe in Treating Others with Respect, a PAC that supports Biden.
“We have to change direction,” he added.
The November election will be the first indication of whether Arizona will become a democratic area like Colorado and Virginia – or a perennial swing state like Florida. The state’s growing Latino population and changing attitudes among white college graduates across the state have been a boon to the Democrats. Almost a third of the state is Latino – and while only about half of them will vote, they’ll likely break hard for Democrats: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema secured 70 percent Latino support in their 2018 run.
“Turnout has increased in Latino, and then there are moderate white voters who are breaking towards Biden. And really, both were needed to create this democratic wave,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) Who served three years in the State House and now represents a safe Democratic Congressional District in Phoenix.
Voter registration in Arizona is also a bright spot for Democrats. Republicans’ advantage has shrunk over the past three election cycles. Republicans stop now a trail by fewer than 100,000 voters. Compared to 2016, the GOP share of voters is unchanged at 35 percent, while the democratic share has increased by 2 points to 32 percent.
Gallego said his optimistic Arizona path to reliably turning blue will mirror neighboring Colorado. And he argues, it took a long time for then GOP Governor Jan Brewer to sign SB 1070, the controversial “Show me your papers” law in 2010. But the state wasn’t ready to turn its back on the Democrats then because the Democratic Party largely ignored Arizona in Obama’s 2008 race against McCain, a beloved figure in the state, Gallego said.
“Trump really accelerated that and gave up [moderates and independents] A good reason to distance yourself from the Republican Party, ”said Gallego.
Arizona’s shift to the left has largely flat-footed Republicans and tried to adapt to the new political realities. After losing McSally in 2018, Republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed McSally the state’s alternate Senate seat. And Republicans elected a new party leader: Kelli Ward, the far-right candidate who McCain prepared in 2016 and lost to McSally in the 2018 Senate.
“I don’t think anyone would have suspected three years ago that there would be a battlefield for control of the lower and upper chambers,” said Mike Noble, chief research officer for the Republican electoral bureau OH Predictive Insights in Phoenix. “It’s amazing.”
Noble said Arizona was unlikely to switch from a reliable GOP to a Democratic one in such a short time, but Republicans will have to reach out to the middle of the electorate to win there.
“Right now, Arizona is a battleground mainly because of the suburban shift. And remember, Arizona is the home of Barry Goldwater and John McCain – moderate Republicans, “he said, a reference to Goldwater’s libertarian stance and McCain’s” outsider “persona.” It’s really not a red state like Alabama, but an independent state, if that is how it comes to the electorate. “
Republican groups recognize that keeping majorities in both the State House and Senate and spending almost twice as much money on advertising as Democrats is an uphill battle. The Republicans spent $ 671,000 on the Democrats’ $ 371,000, according to Advertising Analytics. The Republican state governance committee also has Arizona on its top target list, although it is not a redistributive priority.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have focused on four finish races in the State House and six in the Senate. Republican and Democratic strategists agree that Democrats are most likely to win the State House, but Republicans will retain control of the Senate – although a full flip is certainly possible.
“Republicans play defense and [Democrats] You could really get the ball here, ”said Coughlin.