Clinton camp thinks Arizona may be in reach

The Clinton campaign and its allies think they have an increasingly realistic shot at winning red-state Arizona, particularly on the heels of Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s recent spiral. 

Team Clinton has poured resources into the state—including a six-figure ad buy. It also has 32 offices and 160 staffers on the ground.

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Chelsea Clinton will stump in the state next week, and there are rumblings that other surrogates will follow Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Senate panel passes amendment to bar using troops against protesters Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests MORE, who campaigned in Arizona last week as Trump faced allegations of sexual misconduct. 

There are even some murmurings that Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE herself will head to the state. Aides are still discussing that possibility, sources close to the campaign said. For now, she’s simply asking her supporters for help as she did at a rally in Colorado this week: “If you’ve got friends in Utah or Arizona, make sure they vote, too.” 

A Friday poll from Data Orbital, a Phoenix-based consulting firm, shows that Clinton and Trump are in a statistical dead heat, with the Democratic nominee leading her rival 43 percent to 42 percent. 

George Khalaf, the pollster behind the Data Orbital poll, said the results are not surprising.

“It is not surprising to see Trump’s numbers down after seven days straight of negative media coverage and Republican leaders rescinding their support of the nominee,” he said.

Arizona has generally not been fertile ground for Democratic presidential candidates, but this cycle might be different.

The Arizona Republic, the main newspaper which had never backed a Democrat in its history, endorsed Clinton for president.

The large Hispanic population in the state could also tilt Arizona toward Clinton; Democrats have long hoped to move the state to their column.

Initially, Clinton’s investments seemed primarily defensive.

But in recent days a win seems more plausible. 

A Clinton aide acknowledged on Friday that the campaign has seen “much better reception” there in recent weeks and that the campaign is seizing on the red-state opening.

“We’re definitely serious about this,” the aide said. 

In an interview with KJZZ this week, Kaine took it a step further. 

“Arizona is kind of moving from a state that people kind of took for granted in presidential years to one that’s competitive. So the first thing that I would say to Arizona is to take advantage of that.”

Kaine said the Hispanic community in particular could help himself and Clinton win the state.

And while some in Clintonworld are cautious about their prospects, political observers there say a Clinton win may happen. 

“I think it’s realistic,” said Mike O’Neil, a top pollster and political analyst in the state.  

“It conforms to what I’ve said all along that [Arizona] won’t be the 270th but it might be the 340th,” O’Neil continued, referring to the electoral college votes.

O’Neil’s comments also suggest that Arizona would move toward Clinton as part of a route on election night.

Spokespeople for the Republican National Committee did not respond to a request for comment. 

Arizona isn’t the only state Democrats are dreaming about as Trump begins to reel.

The Clinton campaign is eying red state strongholds such as Utah —where GOP lawmakers have withdrawn their endorsements of Trump and independent candidate Even McMullin is surging — as well as Georgia.

One Democrat close to the campaign said Georgia seems plausible because it’s similar to North Carolina, a state won by Obama in 2008 that Clinton is fighting to win: It has a large black population and a surge of new white college educated voters. 

Democrats say it’s not impossible: Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonWill the ‘law and order’ president pardon Roger Stone? Five ways America would take a hard left under Joe Biden The sad spectacle of Trump’s enablers MORE was able to win Georgia in 1992, during his first run for president, and he won Arizona—something no other Democrat had done since 1948— in 1996.

At the time, however, Clinton might have been helped by a strong third party candidate in Reform Party nominee Ross Perot.

Still, third party candidates are also having a huge impact this year, as both Trump and Clinton are widely unpopular with vast swaths of the population. And Trump’s problems appear to be growing worse.

Utah hasn’t voted for a Democratic candidate for president since Lyndon Johnson’s race against Barry Goldwater in 1964. 

Still, Democrats say that could all change.

“It’s clear [Hillary for America] is going on offense—and up on the air—in a number of states we wouldn’t have expected to be in play even just a few months ago,” said Lynda Tran, a Democratic strategist.

“And of course, there’s value in forcing Trump to play defense in states that could theoretically expand the map even if they aren’t critical to Secretary Clinton reaching the magical 270 electoral votes needed to win.”

“Never say never,” she said.

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