Politic365 recently had the opportunity to speak with Congressman Ed Pastor (D-Phoenix) about the political climate in the Grand Canyon state and his own re-election. Some key political events have been happening relating to Arizona in recent weeks, which have been covered here on Politic365 including the Supreme Court ruling on SB 1070, Richard Carmona closing the gap in the race for Senate, and changes in the primary date in the Navajo Nation. There has even been some speculation that this traditionally red state could send a Democratic delegation to Congress in this upcoming election. This is also a state where Independent voters will have a big influence.
In terms of his own re-election, Rep. Pastor has been working on voter registration efforts and getting the word out about early voting in his state. Arizona has been in the middle of a battle about producing proof of citizenship in registering to vote. A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court rejected the state’s request to let its proof of citizenship requirement stay in effect while appealing a ruling that that found the state requirement conflicts with federal law.
Pastor explained that one of his goals is to assist in “identifying voters who want to do early voting,” and his campaign will likely have an easier time of doing that based upon the data that the Arizona Democratic Party uses to target voters. Arizona collects information that identifies the father’s name or mother’s maiden name, e-mail address and occupation even though voters can opt out of providing these details. Arizonans do have a tendency to vote early — so Pastor’s campaign goal makes sense given what could happen between now and the August 28 congressional primary date.
The Senate race to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jon Kyl has also garnered attention because former Surgeon General Richard Carmona is in the running and within striking distance of U.S. Representative Jeff Flake.
When asked whether Carmona could become the next Senator from Arizona, Pastor was optimistic, “Yes, he does have a good chance. First of all, he does not have a primary. Carmona has been campaigning very hard. And secondly on the GOP side, it’s been a tough election. You have one GOP candidate who has spent about $3 million and another who has spent between $4 and $6 million in the primary alone. The two Republican candidates have been hitting each other hard in the primary, and Carmona doesn’t have to deal with this.”
Congressman Pastor also addressed the Latino vote when speaking with Politic365. Given that a portion of Arizona’s SB 1070 has been allowed to stand (the part that allows law enforcement to question the immigration status of suspects who have been stopped or arrested), attention has turned to the state’s Latino electorate, which could play a major role in electoral outcomes. Pastor explained that the recent decision by the administration to halt the deportation of DREAM eligible youth has energized the younger volunteer force and that the re-election campaign of Sheriff Joe Arpaio will also motivate Latino voters in the general election.
Recent polling of Arizona Latino voters shows that some 65 percent believe that upholding SB 1070 would contribute to an anti-immigrant and Anti-Hispanic environment. But with a partial upholding of the law, it will be interesting to see where Latino voters are now on that issue in the Grand Canyon state three weeks after the High Court’s decision was released.