Arizona politics edging toward a purple state


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema

Muhammad Javed, Reporter

The landmark victory of Kyrsten Sinema as a U.S. Senator from Arizona has sparked the debate in political circles whether Arizona is moving toward becoming a blue state.

Calling it part of a “blue wave” after the midterm elections, analysts are divided on the matter. Some believe the “blue wave” may take hold, while others think it is a temporary phenomenon.

“The Nov. 6 election revealed that Arizona, a rapidly growing state with 11 electoral college votes, has moved from red to purple,”  Thomas B.Edsall writes in his opinion piece published in New York Times.

“Voters in Arizona rejected representative Martha McSally, who campaigned as a Trump loyalist in her bid for the Senate, choosing instead another congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema, the first openly bisexual member of the Senate. Doug Ducey, a Republican, easily won re-election as governor, but the contests for other statewide offices were all close, with Democrats winning two out of six,” Edsall said.

As far as Arizona’s legislature is concerned, the senate is still controlled by republicans 17-13 while the margin of number of representatives in the House has become very thin with republicans holding 31 seats and democrats 29 seats.

Linda Valdez, in her commentary published in Arizona Republic, writes,“In addition to capturing statewide offices they haven’t held in decades – U.S. Senator, Arizona Secretary of State and Superintendent of Public Instruction – Democrats increased their numbers enough in the state’s House of Representatives to become (kind of) relevant,” Valdez said.

“Democrats have a chance to do some good for Arizona and put themselves in position to make more gains in 2020. But only if they resist the temptations of newfound power and use their leverage strategically,” Valdez concludes.

Nearly 65 percent of Arizona voters cast ballots in the midterm elections.

In a recent Associated Press report titled, “Democrats made gains, but Arizona isn’t purple yet” one quote is a reminder that while some blue strides have been made—“Democratic gains in this month’s election need to be cemented in future contests to show this year wasn’t a one-off.”

During the campaign of Krysten Sinema was an all-out effort to try and“put distance herself and rest of her party”by presenting herself as a centrist.

Northeast Valley News talked to some of Arizona voters to find out their views on recent change in the state’s politics.

Dr. Anneliese Harper, a Professor of Communication, at Scottsdale Community College, feels positive “about the election of Sinema because she signifies the ‘purpling’ of our state”

“We didn’t have a huge blue wave. Gerrymandering kind of ensures that the areas that lean one side or the other tend to always lean to that particular side. So the Democrats turned I think one position in the Arizona House and kept others that they already had. Arizona likes stability and I think that’s why Ducey stayed,”Harper said.

“Purple takes both blue and red,” Harper said.

Aaron Taliaferro, works as a Student Services Analyst at SCC, and told Northeast Valley News—

“I do not feel that it [Arizona] would be entirely blue but I do think that with new influx of business and employees that may lean more towards democratic view on things such as taxes, small businesses, education and things of that nature that we will get more population voting blue. We are leaning towards blue but I am not sure that it will entirely switch over to blue,”Taliaferro said.

But above party lines, Arizonans still have some expectations from the newly elected representatives.

Andre Kovalenko, a student at SCC, said

“I would expect better health insurance plans for lower income middle class individuals. Also better salary plans for teachers, so that #Redfored does not happen again. I am also hoping that housing taxes stop increasing,” said Andre Kovalenko, a Scottsdale Community College student.


Update: Martha McSally, who lost her senate seat, has now been appointed by Governor Doug Ducey tothe U. S. Senate seat held by the late Senator John McCain.