Arizona has been a Republican stronghold for 11 of the last 12 presidential elections. But in light of a tumultuous month for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is moving in.
On Monday, the Clinton campaign announced that it would pour $2 million in television, digital, and mail advertising, as well as deploy key surrogate, Michelle Obama. The first lady joins a list of Democratic heavyweights that’ll campaign in Arizona this week, including Bernie Sanders and Chelsea Clinton. A future visit by Hillary Clinton might also be in the cards, according to campaign manager Robby Mook. Trump’s divisive rhetoric, Mook said, has made the state “more competitive.”
It’s not just Clinton campaign officials who see an opportunity for the former secretary of state in Arizona. GOP operatives in the state told NBC News that Trump was in real peril of losing there. The state’s junior Republican senator, Jeff Flake, told CNN in September that Trump’s behavior had made Arizona competitive.
Trump holds a slight lead against Clinton in Arizona, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. But Trump’s comments about popular figures like Senator John McCain, who is cruising to re-election against his Democratic challenger, has lead the Clinton campaign to believe it can take the state. Last year, Trump said that McCain was “not a war hero” despite his military service and his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. McCain, who previously backed Trump, recently withdrew his support in the wake of a leaked 2005 video clip that revealed Trump bragging about being able to grope women because of his star power.