And while there are examples of significant change, with the state sending two Democrats to the Senate for the first time in decades, it is far too early to declare the state blue. Instead, officials from both parties agree, the election was clearly a referendum on Mr. Trump, the most divisive president in recent history.
“It’s certainly not blue, and I’m not even sure it’s purple, it’s magenta, or the lightest shade of red,” said Mike Noble, the chief pollster at OH Predictive Insights, a nonpartisan research group based in Phoenix. “If there was such a Democratic surge, we would have seen in down ballot, but you didn’t see that impact.”
Instead, Democrats fell short of their goal of flipping several seats in the state legislature, which could have given them control of either chamber. And much like Kyrsten Sinema did in 2018, Mark Kelly won his Senate race by portraying himself as a centrist and holding up John McCain as an exemplary leader.
But Democrats and progressives in the state say they still see the election as a vindication of the decades-long effort to push Arizona to the left. They won several labor-backed ballot measures, including one that raised taxes to send more money to public schools. Both Mr. Biden and Mr. Kelly won with a coalition of white women, young and new Latino voters, as well as suburban moderates who have been repelled by the president’s actions.
“Arizona from a policy perspective is going to be really complicated, but I don’t think the public is going to fall in line with the current Republican leadership,” said Ian Danley, a longtime liberal organizer and executive director of Arizona Wins, which coordinated the work of more than two dozen organizations involved in voter outreach. Like other activists in the state, Mr. Danley credits local groups more than the state or national Democratic Party. “Here we offer a kind of model, but we’re not Democrats, we don’t walk around with a Democratic flag or even a candidate. Ultimately, voters don’t always connect the issues with the party, that’s a disconnection that has to be fixed.”