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Explainer: Why AP Called Arizona For Biden

Voters deliver their ballot to a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Voters deliver their ballot to a polling station, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

State officials say there are about 450,000 votes still to be counted in Arizona, a Western presidential battleground state, where Democrat Joe Biden has a 2.35 percentage point lead over Republican Donald Trump, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.

The Associated Press has called the race in Arizona for Biden. The AP said Thursday it is monitoring the vote count in the state as ballots continued to be tallied.

“The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor. “We will follow the facts in all cases.”

The vast majority of the ballots still being counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state. The next update from elections officials in Arizona is expected around 9 p.m. EST.

The Trump campaign says it is confident the president will overtake Biden when all votes in the state are tallied.

The AP called the race in Arizona for Biden at 2:50 a.m. EST Wednesday after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded Trump could not catch up in the ballots left to be counted.

Arizona has a long political history of voting Republican. It’s the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, represented the state in Congress from 1983 until his 2018 death.

But changing demographics, including a fast-growing Latino population and a boom of new residents — some fleeing the skyrocketing cost of living in neighboring California — have made the state friendlier to Democrats.

Many of the gains have been driven by the shifting politics of Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and its suburbs. Maricopa County accounts for 60% of the state’s vote, and Biden leads there by 4.2 percentage points in votes that have already been tabulated.

Arizona has a long political history of voting Republican. It’s the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, represented the state in Congress from 1983 until his 2018 death.

But changing demographics, including a fast-growing Latino population and a boom of new residents — some fleeing the skyrocketing cost of living in neighboring California — have made the state friendlier to Democrats.

Many of the gains have been driven by the shifting politics of Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and its suburbs. That’s where Biden sealed his victory. Maricopa County accounts for 60% of the state’s vote, and Biden ran up huge margins there.

In 2016, Trump carried the county by 4 percentage points, which helped propel him to a win. But two years later, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema flipped the seat from Republican control by winning the county by 5 points.

When the AP called the race for Biden, he was leading there by 9 percentage points.

Biden flipping Arizona is a sign of Democrats’ ascendant influence in the state.

In 2018, Sinema became the first Democrat in three decades to win a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona. Democrats also won three statewide offices and five of nine congressional seats and made gains in the state legislature that year.

In 2016, voters ousted Republican Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County’s hardline sheriff, who built a national profile on his harsh treatment of immigrants.

This article was originally published on November 04, 2020.

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