Democrats jubilant despite local losses

Kyrsten Sinema speaks with KTAR, while election results are reported on Tuesday evening. (Photo by Murphy Bannerman)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, but about 500 Democrats were chanting “four more years” in downtown Phoenix after the country re-elected President Barack Obama.

The Democrats lost several statewide races, but key local wins and Obama’s decisive victory sustained the celebration.

Senate candidate Jeff Flake, R-Snowflake, defeated Democratic candidate Richard Carmona.

Carmona conceded around 10:30 p.m. after trailing Flake by about 6 percent with 85 percent of precincts reporting.

In Tempe’s 9th Congressional District, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema led Republican Vernon Parker by about 1 percent with 94 percent of precincts reporting.

Redistricting made the 9th District, which includes Tempe, Mesa and parts of Scottsdale, more competitive in this election.

“I’m feeling really great,” Sinema said shortly after polls closed Tuesday.  “In particular, I’m grateful for the ASU students who really helped so much in the last days of the campaign.”

Nationwide, Democrats held the majority in the Senate, while Republicans retained their hold of the House of Representatives.

While Tempe voters elected three Democrats to the Legislature, the Republican Party kept its majorities in both the House and Senate.
Juan Mendez, one of the three Democrats elected in the 26th Legislative District, said strategic planning led to this win.
“This was never a gamble for us,” Mendez said.  “We knew what we needed to do.  We knew how many votes we needed to win.  We’ve been doing that work. Instead of hoping people would just vote for us, we went out and identified and activated all the voters that we needed.”

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio also won his re-election bid, defeating former police sergeant Paul Penzone by about 10 points.

At the Democratic event at the Renaissance Hotel, the focus was on the presidential election.

ASU alumna Joy Issacs, 24, said Obama is the right man to lead the U.S. into prosperity.

“He’s an inspiration to us all,” she said.

Issacs, who voted for Obama in 2008, said she still believes in the president’s message for change.

“Obama offers America hope,” she said. “It’s about finishing what you started.  I think that change is a process, just like everything else is.”

Issacs said she loves Obama’s stance on education, especially because she is planning to return to ASU for her master’s degree.

“I am really glad about a president that serves for education, but also encourages young American people to further and better themselves through education,” she said.

Seth McManus, 25, said while he was more of an undecided voter in 2008, he was excited to support Obama this election because of the progress made in the last four years.

“He’s done a really good job pulling the economy around,” McManus said. “He did a really good job of advocating for the middle class.”

This year, McManus volunteered with Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan group dedicated to getting out the Latino vote.

“The Latino vote is so important,” he said. “It’s about making sure their voices are being heard as well.”

Over the years, McManus said he has shifted from being a conservative to an Independent who votes Democratic.

“I shouldn’t govern just based on my principles,” he said. “I need to keep others in mind too.”

 

Reach the reporter at tnhoman@asu.edu