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  Politics and Elections
Friday, November 11, 2011
Arizona 2012 Preview - updated
The "Tour of the 50 States" moves from the cold arctic to the hot desert today as we take a first look at Arizona.

Reapportionment and Redistricting:  Arizona's population increased enough between 2000 and 2010 to garner an extra congressional district this year.  The new district brings the state's delegation to nine.  Charlie Cook's assessment of the resulting redistricting process reports that Democrats should gain the additional seat.

Presidential Race:  Democrat Bill Clinton won Arizona in 1996, breaking a string of GOP victories dating back to Harry Truman.  Since then, the GOP has started another winning streak here, winning the last three presidential elections.  Expect another mildly comfortable win for the Republican nominee in 2012. Strong GOP Hold.

Senate:  When Republican Senator Jon Kyl decided to retire earlier this year, this senate seat lost its invulnerable status.  Still, the GOP has a decided advantage in the race and it should stay in the red column.  Candidate caliber and presidential focus here from the national parties will impact how competitive this race turns out to be.  For now, we'll call it a Mod GOP Hold.

Governor:  In 2010, Jan Brewer, Republican, won election to a full term as governor.  The champion of illegal immigration control cannot run for another term in 2014.  Since she served a partial term before being re-elected, Arizona law says she is serving her second term currently and, thus, is term-limited.

House:  Congressional races in Arizona have been marked in recent memory by an abundance of close races.  This cycle should be no different.  Election Projection starts off the election season with 4 of 9 states on the hotly-contested list.  First is District 1 where freshman Republican Paul Gosar faces a rematch against former Congresswoman Anne Kirkpatrick.  This race starts off as a Mod GOP Hold.  Next we move to District 5.  In an interesting development here, incumbent Dave Schweikert is now running in District 6, leaving behind a competitive open seat.  Democrats have a decent chance to pick up this Weak GOP Hold.

Third, District 8 representative, Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who has fought gallantly to recover from an idiot's senseless violence, seems to be a perennial occupant of EP's House race list.  I'm not sure how this race will pan out, but, even as a Republican, I almost wish Giffords would be granted this seat for as long as she wants it.  But elections aren't run that way, so, for now, call it a Mod DEM Hold.  Finally, there's the new seat, District 9.  Using the Cook assessment I mentioned earlier where the Democrats are projected to pick up a seat in Arizona and given that EP projects no other seats to flip sides, this new District starts off as a Weak DEM Gain, mostly by default.  We'll know much more once the redistricting battles are complete.

Don't miss the Arizona state page for lots more information.

Next tour stop: Arkansas

Update:  Charlie Cook's latest House ratings update has removed Giffords' race from the competitive category.  As a result, I have removed it from my list as well.  Among the pundits I use to compute my House projections, only Larry Sabato continues to carry AZ-8 as competitive.

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