Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (shown in photo) has predicted that the large number of immigrants taking up residency in Arizona will change the traditionally Republican stronghold into a Democrat-majority state.
Napolitano provided Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado as historic examples of states where a heavy influx of immigrants swung those states into the Democratic column.
“Arizona will be behind them,” Napolitano was quoted in a report originating with the Christian Science Monitor and carried by the Washington Times, “I think it will be more purple over time, but ultimately blue…. It’ll happen, I think. The fact that I could win three straight elections there, I think is indicative that Democrats can win and do win in Arizona.”
Arizona’s history of voting for Republican candidates in presidential elections has been legendary. Since 1952, The Grand Canyon State has voted for the Democrat candidate only once, in 1996, when Reform Party candidate Ross Perot split the vote and Bill Clinton carried the state with a plurality of just 46.52 percent. In the 1964 presidential contest, Arizona was the only state outside the South to vote for its native son, Senator Barry Goldwater.
Arizona is currently represented in Congress by two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, and in the House of Representatives by five Democrats and four Republicans. Arizona’s current governor, Jan Brewer, is a Republican, but was preceded in the office by HHS Secretary Napolitano, a Democrat.
As to how Republicans might respond to the challenge, journalist Nancy Smith studied the issue in an article for the Florida-based Sunshine State News entitled “Is Immigration Reform a Voter-Registration Drive for Democrats?" Smith, who said that Republicans “are between a rock and a hard place,” believes that giving in on “immigration reform” is not the best way for Republicans to make a political comeback. She writes:
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Photo of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano: AP Images