Is Arizona Turning Blue?

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Recent polls show Arizona is either tied between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton or that Clinton has a lead. Either way, it’s remarkable for a state that has only voted Republican in the presidential race once since 1948. Alexis Tameron, chair of the Democratic Party in Arizona, and Robert Graham, chair of the Republican Party in our state, will discuss whether Arizona is in danger of going blue.

TED SIMONS: A NEW POLL RELEASED YESTERDAY SHOWS THAT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE BETWEEN DONALD TRUMP AND HILLARY CLINTON IS STATISTICALLY TIED. 46% GOING FOR TRUMP AND 45% PLANS TO VOTE FOR CLINTON, WELL WITHIN THE MARGIN OF ERROR. LAST WEEK, AN ARIZONA REPUBLIC MORRISON INSTITUTE CRONKITE NEWS POLL SHOWED CLINTON FIVE POINTS AHEAD. IS ARIZONA ABOUT TO TURN FROM REPUBLICAN RED TO DEMOCRATIC BLUE. JOINING US NOW IS ALEXIS TAMERON, CHAIR OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN ARIZONA, AND ROBERT GRAHAM, CHAIR OF THE STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY. ALL RIGHT, ALEXIS, IS ARIZONA ON THE VERGE OF TURNING BLUE?

ALEXIS TAMERON: I WOULD THINK SO. I THINK ALL OF THE POLLS ARE INDICATING THAT IT IS A TIGHT RACE. IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO GETTING OUT THE VOTE FOR BOTH OF OUR PARTIES. I FEEL GOOD BASED ON WHERE WE'RE AT. PEOPLE ON THE GROUND, 32 OFFICES ACROSS THE STATE. A LITTLE OVER 160 STAFF, SO I FEEL REALLY GOOD HEADING INTO THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS.

TED SIMONS: DO YOU THINK THAT THE STATE IS TURNING BLUE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE ONLY?

ALEXIS TAMERON: I THINK WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE SOME SEATS AT THE STATE LEGISLATURE. I THINK WE HAVE A GOOD SHOT AT THE CORPORATION COMMISSION, I THINK IT'S OPEN ACROSS THE BOARD AND AGAIN, DEPENDING UPON TURNOUT WE HAVE A SHOT AT ALSO EARNING A U.S. SENATE SEAT.

TED SIMONS: ARE WE GOING FROM RED TO BLUE?

ROBERT GRAHAM: I WOULD SAY NO. I'M BIASED, OF COURSE. I THINK WE'LL STAY RED. AND WHEN YOU REALLY CONSIDER WHAT ALEXIS SAID ABOUT TURNOUT THAT IS THE MAGIC QUOTIENT. WE'RE WORKING HARD TO TURN OUT OUR PEOPLE AND ONE OF THE GREAT ADVANTAGES IN THE STATE AS REPUBLICANS, WE'VE GOT 160,000 PLUS REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA. SO WHEN YOU LAYER ON THE FIELD OPERATIONS AND CALLS AND THE DOORS PEOPLE ARE KNOCKING, PLUS THE ENTHUSIASM BEHIND THE VOLUNTEER BASE, WE'VE OVER 12,000 VOLUNTEERS IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA AND LAYER THAT ON TOP OF THE VOTER REGISTRATION, IT'S A DIFFICULT BARRIER FOR PEOPLE TO CROSS. FOR THE DEMOCRATS TO CROSS.

TED SIMONS: THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, THE DONALD TRUMP CANDIDACY IS CONTROVERSIAL. NO ONE DENIES THAT AND USUALLY IN ARIZONA, WE DON'T SEE THIS NECK-AND-NECK KIND OF RACE. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT AND HOW IS TRUMP AFFECTING ALL THINGS VOTING THIS ELECTION?
ROBERT GRAHAM: I THINK HE'S CLEARLY A DISRUPTIVE NON-TRADITIONAL CANDIDATE AND IN MANY WAYS THAT'S A BLESSING IN DISGUISE. WE'VE SEEN A UNUSUAL WAVE OF PEOPLE COMING TO THE PARTY. LOOK AT OUR VOTER REGISTRATION. LAST YEAR, WE DID A BIG REGISTRATION DRIVE, THIS YEAR WE DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT BECAUSE ITS BEEN THIS ORGANIC PUSH UP. SENATOR MCCAIN IS DOING FANTASTIC, UP IN THE POLLS. AND DOWN-TICKET, WE'RE NOT SEEING HE'S HURTING US, BUT ONE THING ABOUT ARIZONA, THEY VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATES THEY LIKE. NECK-AND-NECK, THIS IS THE CHALLENGE ON THE PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL AND NOWHERE ELSE IN THE STATE.

TED: THE TRUMP FACTOR, MORE THAN JUST -- I ASKED THIS BEFORE, BUT AGAIN, ARE WE JUST TALKING A ONE-TIME ONLY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WITH A GUY WHO'S JUST VERY CONTROVERSIAL?

ALEXIS TAMERON: I DON'T THINK SO, I THINK IT'S THE BEGINNING OF A TREND. WHAT WE HAD HOPED FOR AT THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTION CYCLE WAS TO BUILD FOR THE FUTURE, PLAY THE LONG GAME. WE'VE BEEN TARGETING 2020, '22, WHERE THE NEXT DEMOGRAPHICS SHIFTS ARE GOING TO HIT ITS NEXUS POINT. I DO THINK DONALD TRUMP HELPED US KIND OF JUMP AHEAD OF OUR OWN TIMELINE BUT ALSO IT'S JUST A TREND, THE START OF A TREND THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED REGARDLESS. I BELIEVE IN THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: ROBERT MENTIONED 160,000 MORE REGISTERED VOTERS THAN DEMOCRATIC VOTERS. HOW DO YOU GET PAST THAT?

ALEXIS TAMERON: WE PUT A LOT OF EFFORT IN OUR FIELD OPERATIONS THIS YEAR. WE'VE REGISTERED MORE DEMOCRATS THAN REGISTERED REPUBLICANS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF QUARTERS. SO THE UPWARD TREND IS THERE AND BASICALLY MAKING SURE IN ARIZONA WE FIGHT FOR EVERY VOTE THAT WE WILL GET AND WENT ON THE MARGINS. AND THE CLOSER WE GET EVERY YEAR, WHICH WE HAVE, COUPLE THAT WITH THE GROWING LATINO VOTE WHICH WE HAVE TO GO OUT AND EARN AND MAKE SURE THAT MOVING FORWARD WE HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE AND A BRIGHT BLUE FUTURE FOR THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: THAT GROWING LATINO VOTE, THE MILLENNIAL VOTER -- MOST PUNDITS SAYING REPUBLICANS NOT DOING A GOOD JOB GETTING AND KEEPING THOSE VOTES, YOU SAY --

ROBERT GRAHAM: I'VE BEEN CHAIRMAN ALMOST FOUR YEARS AND THIS A CENTERPIECE OF OUR EFFORTS SINCE I'VE BEEN CHAIRMAN, TO BE INCLUSIVE AND ENGAGE COMMUNITIES AND NOT JUST SAY, HERE WE ARE, REPUBLICANS, VOTE FOR US. WE'VE BEEN A PART OF THE COMMUNITY WITH EVENTS AND SERVICE PROJECTS AND MET WITH LEADERS. WE'VE SEEN A LOT OF MINORITY LEADERSHIP CHANGING AND PARTY REGISTRATION. AND WE'VE SEEN WITHIN THE NAVAJO COMMUNITY DO THAT AND HISPANIC LEADERS AND WHAT THEY'RE TELLING US CONSISTENTLY IS THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY SHOWING UP IN THE COMMUNITY. AND WHERE IN MANY CASES IN TIMES PAST, THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TAKEN THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY FOR GRANTED AND COUNT ON AND BELIEVE IN THEIR VOTES. REPUBLICANS BELIEVE THAT DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO TAKE -- IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, WE'VE MADE A CONCERTED EFFORT, AND IT HASN'T BEEN SOMETHING STARTED NOW FOR THE FUTURE, IT'S SOMETHING WE STARTED FOUR YEARS AGO TO INVEST IN THE FUTURE AND IT TAKES TIME.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU GET PAST THE STATEMENTS TRUMP HAS MADE REGARDING MEXICO AND IMMIGRANTS AND THE CONTINUED PRESENCE OF JOE ARPAIO, NOW INDICTED. HOW DO YOU GET PAST THAT WITH VOTERS?

ROBERT GRAHAM: WHAT WE TRY TO TEACH AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE IN ANY ELECTION, WHETHER IT'S THE SCHOOL BOARD OR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THESE ELECTIONS ARE BIGGER THAN ONE PERSON. WHEN WE COME IN AS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO A COMMUNITY, IT'S GREAT. WE'RE NOT A CANDIDATE, WE'RE THERE INVESTING IN THE COMMUNITY. WHAT PEOPLE LOOK FOR IS TRUST AND AUTHENTICITY AND WE HAVE REAL PEOPLE SERVING IN THE COMMUNITIES, THAT'S THE RELATIONSHIP WE'RE GETTING BACK.

TED SIMONS: THE IDEA THAT LATINO VOTE ESPECIALLY WILL BE COALESCING AND GROWING AND MOVING TOWARD THE DEMOCRATS AT THE SAME TIME THAT ARIZONA ATTRACTS RETIREES, A LOT OF THEM FROM THE MIDWEST CONSERVATIVE AREAS, AND THAT'S A FACTOR, ESPECIALLY IN MARICOPA COUNTY. DOES, THIS BALANCE OUT AND ARIZONA REMAIN RED?

ALEXIS TAMERON: I THINK THE QUESTION IS WHERE IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TRENDING AND IT HAS A LOT DO TO DO WITH TRUMP AND THE STATEMENTS HE'S MADE. WE'VE ALSO HAD REPUBLICANS SWITCH PARTIES IN ARIZONA. BILL MUNDELL IS A CLASSIC EXAMPLE WHO WAS A CORPORATION COMMISSIONER, REPUBLICAN, NOW RUNNING FOR CORPORATION COMMISSION AS A DEMOCRAT. AND I THINK THE PERCEPTION OF WHERE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS HEADING AND WHETHER IT'S MOVING AWAY MORE TRADITIONAL CONSERVATIVES IS A QUESTION THAT NEEDS TO BE ANSWERED AND WE'RE TRYING TO ENSURE WE GO OUT AND TALK TO VOTERS AND THE LATINO COMMUNITY IS NO DIFFERENT. THEY'RE NOT A MONOLITHIC COMMUNITY. YOU HAVE TO SAY WHAT THE DIFFERENCES ARE AND WHY YOU DESERVE THEIR VOTE. THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT FACTORS AT PLAY AND WE'RE SEEING IT A LOT EARLIER IN ARIZONA THAN WE WOULD HAVE SEEN IN A MORE TRADITIONAL YEAR BECAUSE IT'S BEEN NON-TRADITIONAL UP TO THIS POINT BUT I FEEL GOOD AS THE CHAIR OF THE PARTY WHERE WE'RE HEADING FOR THE FUTURE AND IT'S GOING TO BE A BRIGHT BLUE FUTURE FOR ARIZONA.

TED SIMONS: LAST QUESTION FOR BOTH OF YOU -- ARE YOU SUSPECTING ANY SURPRISES ON ELECTION NIGHT?

ALEXIS TAMERON: UM -- I -- I THINK SO, IN TERMS OF TURNOUT. I THINK TURNOUT IN PARTICULAR WITHIN THE LATINO COMMUNITY AND OUR NATIVE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ARE GOING TO BE HIGHER THAN WHAT WE WOULD HAVE EXPECTED BECAUSE OF DONALD TRUMP AND THE THINGS HE SAID.

TED SIMONS: ANY SURPRISES?

ROBERT GRAHAM: NO, I THINK IT WILL NOT SURPRISE PEOPLE WHEN WE MAINTAIN A REPUBLICAN MAJORITY AND WIN THE ELECTIONS FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM. I THINK LAST -- LAST CYCLE, WE TRENDED STRONG AND THERE WAS A PROMISE THINGS WOULD GO BLUER AND THEY DIDN'T. AND WE'RE GOING TO MAINTAIN THAT TREND GOING FORWARD.

TED: GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. THANKS FOR JOINING US, WE APPRECIATE IT.

Alexis Tameron: chair of the Democratic Party in Arizona; Robert Graham: chair of the Republican Party in Arizona

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