Arizona has been a dependably red state-- more than that, a nutter state-- for decades. Obama lost both times he ran-- by 9 points each to McCain and to Romney, although in 2016, Hillary lost to Trump far more narrowly-- 1,252,401 (48.08%) to 1,161,167 (44.58%). Last year, Biden's narrow victory came as a shock, even it shouldn't have. He beat Trump 1,672,143 (49.4%) to 1,661,686 (49.1%). It was only the second time a Democratic presidential candidate took the state since Trump beat Dewey in 1948 and last year, only Georgia was closer. On the same day, though, conservative Democrat Mark Kelly ousted Republican Martha McSally from her U.S. Senate seat 1,716,467 (51.2%) to 1,637,661 (48.8%).
Two year earlier an even more right-wing Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema, had beaten McSally 1,191,100 (50.0%) to 1,135,200 (47.6%). Arizona isn't as red as it used to be. The Republicans control each chamber of the state legislature by just 2 seats. As for Congress, Arizona is represented by 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans. And the state GOP is a complete mess, with neo-Nazi crackpot Kelly Ward as chair though with more mainstream conservatives-- who all hate her guts-- still the highest elected officials.
In fact, last night the far right attempt to recall the Republican Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers, fell apart on a technicality. (He had been deemed not Trumpy enough by the lunatic fringe.) No one was more surprised than a bemused Bowers himself.
"They've been coming to my house and intimidating our family and our neighborhood," he said. There were "vile" mobile trucks that plied through his neighborhood, he said, using loud speakers to call him a pedophile.
"I should ask for an audit of these signatures," Bowers said, taking a poke at the complaints lodged against him. "There could be bamboo in those (signature) papers, there could be blue Sharpies."
Meanwhile, Arizona Democrats have been getting their sea legs. Had not Schumer interfered in the 2018 nomination process, Ruben Gallego could well have been nominated and elected senator-- in which case no one would be worrying about Sinema's incessant howling at the moon now. Today Jennifer Medina, reporting for the NY Times, wrote about the difference between normal Arizona Democrats and the mentally unstable Sinema. "The political fortunes of Katie Hobbs, the Arizona secretary of state, have risen unlike any other Democrat in the country in the tumultuous aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Now running for governor, she has emerged as a high-profile defender of the state’s election results and critic of Republican attempts to overturn the outcome. Her path stands in stark contrast to that of another prominent Arizona Democrat: Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a professed maverick who seems to relish thumbing her nose at liberals and has angered many Democrats in recent weeks."
That's an understatement. Arizona Democrats are already looking for a strong 2024 primary opponent for Sinema's seat and have vowed to do whatever it takes to end her toxic, hateful political career. Insisting on some kind of phony "bipartisanship," Sinema has become a roadblock to every progressive agenda item, much as she attempted to be in the House, where she had no power and where no one took her seriously. Thanks, Chuck Schumer! Medina wrote that this week, all eyes in DC have been on Sinema and other right-wing Democratic senators in regard to the infrastructure bill the Republicans and Sinema are trying to kill. "By refusing to eliminate the filibuster, she and other Democratic senators have left in doubt the passage of sweeping voting rights legislation that many on the left view as an existential necessity in the face of a nationwide Republican crackdown."
Hobbs, by contrast, has gained newfound fame in her party for facing down withering attacks from Republicans-- including death threats against her and her family that prompted round-the-clock security from state troopers-- and for denouncing a widely criticized G.O.P. audit of votes in the state’s largest county as a sham and a threat to democracy. Now she is the most popular statewide elected official, according to some polls, and is starting a bid for governor with more than $1 million in her campaign’s coffers.
Hobbs is as popular as Sinema is despised. After Sinema voted against raising the minimum wage, her support among Democrats started falling apart. It's been getting worse since then and her polling numbers indicate that unless she starts changing her basic stands-- something she has done the way other people change their underwear-- she will have no path to renomination.