This week, Arizona 360 looked at how the 2020 presidential election is taking shape in our state. Election Day is still about 20 months away, but a crowded Democratic field has already formed to challenge President Trump and at least one Democrat has officially launched his campaign to take on Republican Sen. Martha McSally.
For insight into these high-profile races, as well as the challenges each party faces in the state, we turned to James Kelley, commentator for 1030 KVOI radio, and Jim Nintzel, executive editor of the Tucson Weekly and Tucson Local Media.
"If you are not supporting the Republican party platform, the party of Donald Trump — because he's the president, it's his party now — there's going to be an issue with your own political base," Kelley said.
"I think that's why you saw Martha McSally move from a fairly centrist candidate when she was here in Southern Arizona representing CD2 in Congress to moving much more closely to Donald Trump because she was concerned about a primary challenge in that U.S. Senate race," Nintzel said.
The discussion also turned to the presidential race and Trump's favorability in the state. In 2016, the president won Arizona by 4 points. Christopher Conover asked both panelists if his odds were at risk in 2020.
"I think there are more and more Democrats that are actually enjoying the fruits of Donald Trump's labors as our president," Kelley said. "Here's the thing: More jobs, more money into the economy also means that all of those 'lefty programs,' all of those so-called 'socialist programs' get more money, too."
"It does not appear from Donald Trump's budgets that he plans to spend more money on 'lefty budgets.' Just looking at that, it seems like he's breaking some significant campaign promises about not touching Medicare, not touching social security, not touching Medicaid," Nintzel said. "Whether he will be as appealing in some of the close states that he won in 2020 remains to be seen, but I do believe Arizona will be up for grabs."