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Democrats dump national money into Arizona efforts

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the 2016 National Association of Black Journalists' and National Association of Hispanic Journalists' Hall of Fame Luncheon at Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, Friday, Aug. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Arizona’s status as a red state could be changing as Democrats dump national money into their local efforts.

“I’m glad the presidential campaign is seeing the same thing that we are,” said Sheila Healy Executive Director of the Arizona Democratic Party.

Healy said her group has been on the ground for roughly a year trying to convince the national campaigns Arizona is worth the extra resources.

“Now the Clinton campaign and others nationally are starting to see that and they’re putting their money in and taking this opportunity that we have this year to turn Arizona blue.”

It’s going to be an incremental battle every day not only leading up to this election but in future election cycles as well, Healy said.

“Not only for future President Clinton but for races all the way down the ballot for democrats,” Healy said. “Also (in) races like Ann Kirkpatrick’s race against John McCain for US Senate.”

They accept that it’s not going to be an easy task.

“To turn a state like Arizona blue it takes throwing everything we can at it,” Healy said. “It takes hiring a professional staff of field people, it registering a lot of voters and knocking on a lot of doors.”

Arizona Republican Party Chairman Robert Graham is not buying it.

“If they want to even attempt to win in Arizona they’re going to invest quite a few bucks,” he said.

That money would likely have to be from outside the state, and Graham isn’t sure Democratic donors would want to waste the money here.

“I just think that they have a whole set of obstacles they have to overcome to even compete, honestly in the state of Arizona,” he said.

Graham has questions about how they would be able to mobilize a base.

“And Hillary isn’t somebody (to) inspire a lot of ambition or enthusiasm, she’s just not that kind of candidate,” Graham said. “Very similar to Mitt Romney, in some ways, as far as how she has tried to move the base.”

They suggest it’s a battleground and every election’s a battle in my mind.

“Absolutely we’re concerned about her, but at the same (time) we know what we’re capable of doing and achieving given 2014 election results in our state, and so we intend to have the same outcome this time.”

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