US election: Joe Biden wins state of Arizona, first Democrat to do so since 1996

Democrat Joe Biden has won in the southwestern US state of Arizona, a traditionally Republican stronghold which was captured by President Donald Trump in 2016, Fox News and the Associated Press projected early Wednesday.

For the first time in 24 years, Arizona has picked a Democratic presidential candidate.

With a population of 7.27 million, Arizona has 11 electoral votes, which are now going to Democratic nominee Joe Biden, the Associated Press news agency said early on Wednesday.

The southwestern state broke its own records with early voting, marking a massive turnout 2.6 million votes having been cast before Election Day.

Democrats had been hoping to flip the state – a bulwark of Republican support for decades – in the tightly-contested presidential race against President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday night, the US channel Fox News prompted condemnation from Trump when the network reported that Arizona had gone to Biden.

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In the lead-up to Election Day, the Trump campaign had ratcheted up its campaigning in Arizona. Last week, both Trump and his running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, visited the state in a late effort to shore up more votes.

Biden’s running mate, US Senator Kamala Harris, also held campaign events in Phoenix and Tucson last week.

Arizona has a growing Latino population, a fact that had led many analysts to expect a political shift in the state for years.

Gibby Vee, 43, moved to Gilbert, Arizona, from Northern California more than a decade ago. He voted for Biden this year, citing the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the president’s “divisive” governing style.

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“In this case, we can’t afford to have another four years of someone that has very little leadership skills and isn’t able to bring a nation together,” he told Al Jazeera.

Earlier in the day, Francine Romesburg distributed pro-Trump fliers outside a voting station in Glendale, Arizona.

Asked why she voted for Trump this year, she told Al Jazeera, “Truth, honesty, our freedoms, our liberties, our religion.”

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