Arizona used to be a solidly red state, but now it looks like Trump and Sen. Martha McSally could lose there in 2020.
When Arizona elected Kyrsten Sinema to the Senate in 2018, it was the first time in 30 years the state sent a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.
"Republicans are very concerned," Chuck Coughlin, a former top aide to previous Republican governors in Arizona, told Politico. "The ground is shifting."
Politico notes that the state has seen a steady increase in Latinos, who tend to favor Democrats, registering to vote. The shift in the state was felt in 2018, when not only Sinema emerged victorious, but Democrats won two additional statewide offices and several state legislative seats.
As the 2020 election nears, recent polls show trouble for both Trump and McSally.
Trump's favorability numbers are underwater in the state, although different polling outfits disagree about just how unhappy Arizonians are with him. A September Morning Consult poll shows 50% state disapproves of his job performance, while a new poll from Bendixen & Amandi International shows 53% of the state is unhappy with him.
As Trump struggles in the state, a trio of polls from OH Predictive Insights spanning from February through August show McSally steadily losing ground to likely Democratic opponent Mark Kelly. In February, McSally had a 2-point lead, which shrunk to a 1-point lead in May, which turned into a 5-point lead for Kelly in August.
Kelly, a former astronaut, also surpassed McSally in fundraising after the latest quarterly filings.
McSally is struggling in a state that already rejected her in 2018 when she lost the Senate race to Sinema. After that loss, McSally was appointed to the Senate by the state's Republican governor to fill out the remaining two years of the late Sen. John McCain's term.
While both Trump and McSally are floundering in the state, some Republicans remain confident that Trump can rally enough voters to save McSally from another rejection by Arizona voters.
"Trump will carry McSally," Sean Noble, an Arizona Republican campaign strategist, told Politico.
Meanwhile, Democrats in the state are eager to defeat McSally once again in 2020.
"Arizonans know Martha McSally's record of putting her party and special interest donors ahead of our state in Washington — from her votes to increase health care costs, to her support for tax giveaways for large corporations and billionaires," Brad Bainum, a spokesperson for the Arizona Democratic Party, said in a statement. "Voters rejected McSally in 2018 because of her failure to be an independent leader for Arizona, and it's why she'll lose again in 2020, as she continues to vote with Mitch McConnell more than 97% of the time."
McSally has courted controversy over the summer by backing Trump's plan to steal money from military families in order to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. McSally's vote in the Senate helped the Trump effort, which also cost her home state of Arizona $30 million in funding McSally once called "critical."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.