Arizona Flips Blue For Biden and Kelly

Nov 4, 2020

Arizona, long a Republican red state, has flipped blue as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly were declared the victors.

The AP and NPR called the races just before 1 a.m. Wednesday. While the presidential race has not been decided as of Wednesday morning, Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who lost to Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in the 2018 election and was appointed to the seat left vacant following the passing of Sen. John McCain.

President Donald Trump and McSally both won Yuma County but were defeated after the Democrats won the more vote-heavy counties of Maricopa and Pima. 

Both parties had increased outreach efforts in Yuma County in recent weeks, with the Republicans holding more in-person events and the candidates themselves in recent weeks and months. The Democrats focused their get out the vote efforts in the Phoenix and Tucson areas as the candidates visited there and were joined by a strong ground effort with canvassers from other states including California and visits from political leaders including Julian Castro, the former presidential candidate and U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and celebrities including the singers Cher and Alicia Keys and actresses Kerry Washington and Jessica Alba.

Biden gave a speech in Wilmington, Del. before the AP called Arizona. He is the first Democrat to win the Grand Canyon State since Bill Clinton won in 1996.

"We're feeling good about where we are," Biden said. "(It has been) suggested we've already won Arizona but we're confident about Arizona. That's a turnaround."

On Twitter, Kelly wrote "@GabbyGiffords and I want to thank all of you for your hard work and support over the last 630 days. The mission wouldn't have been possible without you."

KAWC spoke to Yuma County Supervisor Tony Reyes soon after the first Arizona results were released by Secretary of State Katie Hobbs. Reyes said he hadn't seen Arizona turn blue in his political life.

“So I’m really excited about Arizona," said Reyes, who had endorsed Biden. "I am not that excited about what’s happening nationwide but then again it’s kind of early and everybody told us this was not gonna be a blowout and it wasn’t gonna be easy."

"I’m happy but anxious if that could be a way to describe it," he said. "I’m happy about Arizona. I’m happy about Yuma County and the results (in local races) and I’m anxious about what’s going on at the national level.”

San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez said he was pleased with voter turnout both from early ballots turned in and from voters on Election Day.

In a released statement, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said "Arizonans turned out in historic numbers for this election, and we owe it to them to count their votes. The results have shifted greatly hour by hour, and from last night until today. With hundreds of thousands of votes still outstanding, it's important that we be patient before declaring any races up or down the ballot. Arizonans have cast their votes, and we need to make sure all their voices are heard fairly and accurately."