Is Arizona the Next Big Democratic Target?

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When Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner in the Arizona Senate race last night, my first thought was of Amore Soza.

I met Ms. Soza two days before the election, at a Dia de los Muertos festival in Phoenix, where she was waiting to take a photo with her three daughters and Ms. Sinema, the Democratic candidate.

Ms. Soza, 37, couldn’t remember the last time she voted in a midterm election. But she certainly planned on voting in this one — mostly to send a message to President Trump.

“My family is Hispanic and I’m half-black,” she said. “His tone is just very demeaning.”

Democrats have talked about changing the electoral map for years, expanding into fast-growing states like Texas, Arizona and Georgia. Hillary Clinton even visited Arizona six days before the 2016 election.

But infrequent Democratic voters like Ms. Soza never quite materialized in force on Election Day.

This year, they did.

Senate wins in Arizona and Nevada, along with a close loss in Texas, have convinced some in the party that the changes they’ve long predicted have finally arrived. And they’re hoping those changes will continue through the next presidential election.

Michael Halle, a Democratic operative who ran Mrs. Clinton’s battleground-state strategy and managed Richard Cordray’s losing campaign for governor of Ohio, says it’s time for Democrats to jettison Iowa and Ohio in favor of Arizona and Georgia. Not only are the Midwestern states less favorable to Democrats because of their more rural, white populations, he argues, but they’re also more expensive media markets.

“It’s kind of scary, because Ohio and Iowa are two states that Obama won in both his presidential campaigns, and now they’re just not competitive in the way they once were,” he told me. “We are at a place where we need to expand the map.”

Guy Cecil, chairman of the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA, said his group’s data from the 2018 midterms showed Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina as potential expansion states during the 2020 election, meaning an investment could tip them into the Democratic column.

Mr. Cecil said spending in those states made more sense than in Iowa and Ohio. “If you look at the results from 2016 and 2018, right now that would be the case,” he said — though he cautioned that might change depending on who wins the nomination.

Now, no one expects Arizona, the birthplace of the Goldwater Republican, to be a liberal bastion in two years.

Ms. Sinema, a former congresswoman who voted with Mr. Trump more than half the time, ran a uniquely Arizonan campaign, presenting herself as an independent voice for the state and saying she wouldn’t support the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, if she won. (Though Mr. Schumer did tweet out a victorious photo with Ms. Sinema today.)

But Mr. Trump’s dark, anti-immigration message may have escalated demographic trends already underway. Across the West, the president’s rhetoric boosted Latino turnout while alienating independents and moderate Republicans, complicating the traditional path to victory for G.O.P. candidates in the historically libertarian region. Arizona Republicans say an appearance Martha McSally, Ms. Sinema’s opponent, made with the president at a mid-October rally hurt her campaign.

In Arizona, self-identified independents make up about a third of the voting population. And Latinos made up 23 percent of voters, according to the Pew Research Center. According to exit polls, more than a quarter of Latinos said they were voting for the first time.

Arizona Democrats say they’ve known their day would come. And now, they say, it’s time for the national party to take notice.

“Arizona is a purple state,” said Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democrat from the Phoenix area. “We should be invested by national donors to start moving us toward a more Democratic direction.”

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The recount in Florida’s Senate race will decide control of a crucial seat. It may also help both parties raise some more money.

This afternoon, Republicans emailed out this message from President Trump: “They’ve brought in Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, and are attempting to steal this seat so they can further obstruct our America First agenda … I’m asking Republicans from all over the country to chip in.”

Less than an hour later, Democrats sent out their own message, from Hillary Clinton: “It’s unbelievable that any elected official wouldn’t call for a fair and accurate count of the votes … Chip in $1 to defend Democrats like Bill Nelson.”


Amazon has officially chosen the New York and Washington metro areas for its new headquarters. We asked Emily Badger, who writes about cities and urban policy for The Upshot, to tell us more about the decision:

Amazon announced on Tuesday that it will split its “HQ2” into something more like HQ2 and HQ3, in Long Island City in New York and Crystal City in Northern Virginia. The decision will undoubtedly be a boon for the company — it will give Amazon a massive presence at the center of the country’s media and government industries, at a time when it’s increasingly bumping into media criticism and threatened regulation.

But by other standards, this was the worst possible outcome. Amazon chose two of the most obvious (and already prosperous) regions, leaving many to wonder if the HQ2 sweepstakes was rigged from the start. Since news leaked of the two likely locations last week, critics have called the whole thing a bait-and-switch and a waste of time for the other 236 communities that put in a bid.

By picking New York and Washington, Amazon will also double down on putting good tech jobs where good tech jobs already exist, exacerbating the widening inequality between big coastal cities and smaller and more rural communities. If there’s a growing concern in America — one that underlies our political divides — that elite, liberal coastal cities are booming while many parts of the country struggle, Amazon’s decision won’t help.

Read Emily’s latest story on Amazon: Dominating Retail? Yes. Reviving a City? No Thanks.


“Operation InfeKtion,” a new video series from The Times’s Opinion section, explores Russia’s decades-long campaign to tear the West apart — and how Americans are using its tactics against one another without realizing it.

CNN has sued the Trump administration, arguing that the removal of Jim Acosta’s White House press pass violated his First Amendment rights to freely report on the government.

President Trump has claimed that legitimate votes counted after election night are “infected” and urged officials to ignore them. What happens if the same scenario plays out with his own election in 2020?


Was 1993 the greatest year in music? NPR investigates (with a very good Spotify playlist).


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