And while there are examples of significant change, with the state sending two Democrats to the Senate for the first time in decades, it’s far too early to declare the state blue. Instead, officials on both sides agree the election was clearly a referendum on Mr. Trump, the most controversial president in recent history.
“It’s definitely not blue, and I’m not even sure it’s purple, magenta, or the lightest shade of red,” said Mike Noble, chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a Phoenix-based non-partisan research group. “If there had been such a Democratic push, we would have seen it in a down vote, but you didn’t see that impact.”
Instead, the Democrats fell short of their goal of overturning multiple seats in the state legislature, which could have given them control of either chamber. And just like Krysten Sinema did in 2018, Mark Kelly won his Senate race by presenting himself as a centrist and making John McCain an exemplary leader.
But Democrats and state progressives say they still see the election as justification for decades-long efforts to push Arizona to the left. They won several worker-backed voting measures, including one that raised taxes to send more money to public schools. Mr. Biden and Mr. Kelly both won with a coalition of white women, young and new Latino voters, as well as suburban moderates who were pushed back by the president’s actions.
“Arizona politically is going to be really complicated, but I don’t think the public is going to line up with the current Republican leadership,” said Ian Danley, a longtime Liberal organizer and executive director of Arizona Wins, who coordinated the work of more than two dozen organizations involved in voter education. Like other state activists, Mr. Danley gives more credit to local groups than to the state or the National Democratic Party. “Here we are offering some kind of model, but we are not Democrats, we are not marching with a Democratic flag or even a candidate. At the end of the day, voters don’t always connect issues with the party, it’s a disconnect that needs to be addressed.