Arizona just turned blue.
After an incredibly tight election which dragged on nearly a week later, the Associated Press has announced Democratic candidate Rep. Kyrsten Sinema successfully flipped retiring anti-Trumper Jeff Flake’s Senate seat, defeating the Republican Party’s handpicked successor Martha McSally in a race that just weeks ago looked secure for the GOP.
McSally has called Sinema to concede.
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Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has won Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat in a race that was among the most closely watched in the nation. https://t.co/G1BZEaRSAs
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 13, 2018
McSALLY calls SINEMA to concede in their hard-fought Senate race. Entirely possible the two will serve side by side in the upper chamber down the road https://t.co/oKDgbBQSnJ
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) November 13, 2018
The home state of everyone from conservative icon Barry Goldwater, to late Republican stalwart John McCain, to racist sheriff Joe Arpaio – the patron saint of Trumpian xenophobes everywhere – has not elected a Democrat to the Senate for over 30 years.
Arizona was also one of the last states to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a holiday, and it’s the birthplace of the infamous Republican-backed SB1070 “Show Me Your Papers” bill that imposed some of the most draconian anti-immigration laws in the country.
For Democrats to turn this seat blue is a massive accomplishment and a terrible sign for President Trump, who easily won Arizona by 4 percentage points in 2016. Deep-red voters in states like Arizona form the core of Trump’s base, and much of his messaging on immigration, the border wall, and the so-called caravan from Central America is tuned precisely to scare them to the polls.
Trump hit the campaign trail hard the two weeks leading up to the election and made the midterms explicitly about him. He ramped-up his particular brand of hate-speech to new highs to activate his base, but in the reddest of red states, it appears to have failed.
What originally looked like a disappointing midterm election for the Democratic Party has turned out to be a much more inspiring performance than we originally believed. The blue wave picked up 32 House seats (with 4 more races leaning Democrat), flipped seven governor’s offices and eight state legislative chambers, and held the GOP to just one net Senate seat (give or take; the race between Rick Scott and Bill Nelson in Florida is still too close to call).