Does the 2020 election mean Arizona has flipped blue? Not exactly, according to experts

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Posted at 4:07 PM, Nov 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-04 19:15:30-05

PHOENIX — Did the so-called "blue wave" make its way across Arizona? Possibly, but it is not a definitive transformation for the state, according to those who follow political trends closely.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Association Press and other major media networks projected that former Vice President Democrat Joe Biden would claim Arizona and that Mark Kelly would defeat Sen. Martha McSally for the U.S. Senate, two races being closely watched in the state, and across the country.

Both big wins for Democrats, if confirmed. But, down the ballot, Republicans won key races.

"Maricopa County is officially a Democratic county. That's a big statement. It hasn't been a Democratic county in 50 years," said Stan Barnes, a Republican consultant with Copper State Consultant. "Today, it's going to be governed by a majority of Democratic-elected board level, county attorney, sheriff and onward."

The Associated Press has not yet projected winners in the Maricopa County Attorney or Maricopa County sheriff races, as of Wednesday afternoon. Though, both democratic candidates are leading.

Barnes said Democrats though failed when it comes to the state legislature, which retained its Republican majority.

"[It] would've been a whole other policy outcome with a Republican governor and Democratic legislature," said Barnes. "That did not happen in spite of record spending toward that end."

"The voters in Arizona gave us a mixed bag of results, some Democratic, some Republican, but Arizona no longer lends itself to an easy center-right red state definition. That's gone in the year 2020," he said.

Luke Perez, an assistant professor at Arizona State University who specializes in American political philosophy and U.S. foreign policy, noted significance in Mark Kelly's race. Kelly outperformed Biden, both Democrats, by a substantial margin.

"It's quite possible that had Mark Kelly not been on the Democratic ticket for [U.S.] Senate, that Arizona could've stayed red both for the Senate and presidency," he said.

He added that it is too soon to know exactly how people voted and what role the Latino community played in the election.

"We don't have a lot of the data on that right now. It's one of the things to be looking for," he said. "We typically won't know granular level information for a few weeks or even a few months."

Even as the AP called races, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, former Gov. Jan Brewer, and the communications director for Sen. McSally, cautioned that thousands of votes were still being counted and tabulated across the state.

Barnes and Perez also echoed those statements.

"Arizonans turned out in historic numbers for this election, and we owe it to them to count their votes. The results have shifted greatly hour by hour, and from last night until today," said in a Wednesday tweet. "With hundreds of thousands of votes still outstanding, it's important that we be patient before declaring any races up or down the ballot. Arizonans have cast their votes, and we need to make sure all their voices are heard fairly and accurately."

Maricopa County, the state's largest county, is expected to release more voting results at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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