Arizona May Not Roll for McCain

Candidate shores up support as shift in demographics pushes home state into play
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2008 7:12 AM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., greets people at the Eggery during a campaign stop at in Phoenix, Ariz., Monday, July 14, 2008.    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Al Gore's 2000 loss of Tennessee aside, normally a presidential candidate can expect to win his home state relatively easily. But this month John McCain, a full press retinue in tow, made a campaign stop in Arizona, shaking hands and encouraging volunteers to get out the vote. As the New York Times writes, Arizona's demographics are changing, and McCain's own campaign now lists the state he's served for more than 25 years as one of its battlegrounds.

Registered independents have spiked in Arizona, and Latinos now make up a full 20% of the electorate. Janet Napolitano, the second-term Democratic governor and a mooted Obama running mate, is hugely popular while the state Republicans are in disarray—the GOP chairman is a Ron Paul supporter. But McCain's trepidation about losing Arizona may be bluffing, and so far Obama hasn't taken the bait: his campaign hasn't spent a dime there.