Biden is the second Democratic presidential candidate since 1948 to claim victory in the longtime Republican stronghold.
Democrats have been asking the question for a long time: Is this the year Arizona turns blue? In 2020, the answer was “yes.”
Joe Biden won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes for president, bringing his total well over the 270 threshold needed to win the presidency. The president-elect also captured nearly 78 million votes—not only securing him the popular vote for this election, but also the most votes any candidate has ever received in an US election.
Democrats also have Arizona to thank for their gain in the senate. Mark Kelly won a resounding victory over Sen. Martha McSally on Tuesday, two years after voters first rejected McSally as their senator in 2018. This will be the first time Arizona has had two Democratic senators in nearly 70 years.
The outcome delighted Democrats and was sure to bring a reckoning for Republicans who have enjoyed decades of dominance in Arizona politics.
“Now people recognize that Arizona is in play, will always be in play,” said US Rep. Ruben Gallego, a Phoenix Democrat who comfortably won reelection.
In turning toward friendly territory for Democrats, Arizona is following a path blazed by its neighbors Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. It’s also the Democrats’ brightest light among the Sun Belt states they tried to flip from the GOP this year.
A decade of work organizing Latinos to vote helped Arizona Democrats outperform other states where Democrats came up short, Gallego said.
Arizona Democrats benefited from the state’s changing demographics — with more young people and Latinos registering, an influx of new residents from more liberal states like California, and growing support among some suburban women for Democratic candidates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.