Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 7, 2016

Napolitano Predicts Arizona Will Become Democratic Stronghold

Napolitano thinks Arizona will transform from a swing state to a Democratic stronghold. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Arizona will follow its Southwestern neighbors and move from swing-state status to Democratic stronghold as the border state’s demographics continue to change.

On Tuesday, the former Arizona governor told reporters that she is confident her home state will take after Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado in gaining Democratic voters in the coming cycles.

“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano said during a discussion hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue.”

In 2012, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., secured his first term with a 3-point margin of victory in a race much closer than many operatives anticipated. Meanwhile, partisan control of the congressional delegation flipped as Democrats won two House seats and Republicans lost one seat. But those gains were also a reflection of a newly redrawn congressional map that favored Democrats.

“It’ll happen, I think,” Napolitano said. “The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”

In the 2012 elections, Republican Mitt Romney carried Arizona with more than 54 percent of the vote. In John McCain’s failed bid for president in 2008, the GOP senator won his home state with 53 percent.

But the recent presidential elections have been somewhat anomalous, Napolitano said. In 2012, President Barack Obama’s campaign “really didn’t play in Arizona,” and McCain is a “favorite son” back home, she said.

Earlier this year, McCain warned that states such as Arizona will flip to Democratic majority if GOP leaders can’t gain the support of Hispanic voters by delivering on an immigration overhaul.

Napolitano said Tuesday that she agrees with McCain. Changing demographics in Arizona are beginning to persuade those previously wary of revamping the system for granting citizenship, the secretary said.

Opposition to giving illegal immigrants a way to become citizens gained traction in the early 2000s in Arizona, when border entry in San Diego and El Paso, Texas, was substantially restricted, Napolitano said. That lockdown funneled illegal border crossings to Arizona, and more than half of the apprehensions of illegal immigrants were occurring in the area near Tucson, she said.

“People lost confidence in the rule of law, that it was under any sort of control,” Napolitano said. “And I think that caused some real political pushback. And people were legitimately concerned about what was going on.”

Abby Livingston contributed to this report.

  • ChrisSanchez

    Anyone who would vote for Napolitano is, let’s say, not using the brains that God gave them to the fullest…

  • ojfl

    Did they not just elect Jeff Flake to the Senate? Not sure that day is so close.

  • TheOnlyJenn

    Yeah, we lost confidence in the rule of law and now we carry our own,

  • Snoop8765

    If Arizona goes blue, it will be because Janet the Maxist left the border open and allowed that good state to be flooded with stinking 3rd world welfare cases who vote for handouts at my expense.

  • Snoop8765

    Obviously, she is a leftist disaster

  • Phadras Johns

    Lessee, commie–check,, lesbian-check, anti-white-check, which is really weird as her name would suggest Italian (horrors, white) ancestry. Look you fill a state with a couple million illegals, give ’em citizenship and the vote—presto chango instant blue state. I wonder if the libs really understand what they are essentially saying “give us citizenship for illegals and we will take over the country. We will use non citizens to thwart the will of the American people”. Want a civil war sweetheart? Keep it up and you shall have one.

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