Thousands of Arizonans Left the Republican Party After the Capitol Riot

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

By Bree Burkitt

January 14, 2021

There’s no way to know whether the exodus was due to the events at the Capitol, but it does serve as an example of Arizona’s rapidly-shifting political makeup.

Thousands of Arizonan Republicans switched political parties in the week following the riot at the US Capitol.

According to records maintained by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, 4,938 registered voters left the Republican party from Jan. 6 — the day of the insurrection — through Jan. 12. 

Most — 3,317 voters — switched to having no party affiliation, while 570 changed their affiliation to Independent and 553 to Democrat. Another 282 became Libertarians and 214 opted for what the Secretary of State’s Office describes as a “non-recognized political party.” One individual changed their registration to the Green party. 

During that same time period, 663 Democrats opted to switch to no party affiliation, as did 221 former Independents.

About 30,830 new voters have registered since the Nov. 3 election. 

While the numbers appear notable, Sophia Solis, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s Office, explained it’s difficult to determine whether the departures from the respective parties are abnormal. 

“Generally, there is a lot of shifting before and after elections,” she explained. “There was a lot of party movement during the first two weeks of 2020.”

READ MORE: Arizona’s Extreme Far-Right Has Been Brewing for Years and the Attempted Capitol Coup Shows It Can’t Be Ignored

She added that looking at the same time frame in 2020 doesn’t provide an adequate comparison as it was ahead of the presidential preference election, which only registered Democrats could participate in. The Secretary of State’s Office was unable to provide data from the same week in 2017 following the 2016 presidential election.

“We don’t really have a good point of comparison in this case, and can’t make a solid assertion as to whether this is atypical,” Solis said.

There’s no way to know whether those that left the party were part of the fallout from the events at the Capitol, President Donald Trump, or overall dissatisfaction with the party. Still, it does serve as an example of Arizona’s rapidly-shifting political makeup. 

The GOP has consistently maintained the majority in the once-consistently red state.

 However, Arizona Democrats registered more voters in the last election cycle than any other party, with 226,579 new voters from 2018 to 2020 for a total of 1.38 million voters or about 32.2% of the state total. 

As of Nov. 3, Republicans maintained the lead with 1.5 million voters — about 35.2%.

Despite this, Arizona turned blue in the most recent election with President-elect Joe Biden narrowly winning the Republican-dominated state — a stark contrast from 2016, where Trump won by 3.5%. 

It’s not clear yet what toll last week’s attempted coup will have on voter registration numbers, and party registration doesn’t determine how someone will vote. Officials have seen similar trends elsewhere in the country. The Associated Press reported similar trends in states like Pennsylvania and Iowa.

Have you switched parties in recent weeks? Tell reporter Bree Burkitt why at [email protected].


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