A closer look at why AP called Arizona’s presidential race for Joe Biden

Politics

Election officials arrive for work at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix. Hundreds of pro-Trump protesters gathered outside the ballot counting facility on Wednesday evening as outstanding votes were counted after Democratic challenger Joe Biden was reported to have flipped the Republican stronghold of Arizona. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX (NewsNation Now) —  State officials say there are about 450,000 votes still to be counted in Arizona, a Western presidential battleground state, where Democrat Joe Biden has a 2.35 percentage point lead over Republican Donald Trump, an advantage of about 68,000 votes.

The Associated Press has called the race in Arizona for Biden. The AP said Thursday it is monitoring the vote count in the state as ballots continued to be tallied.

“The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor. “We will follow the facts in all cases.”

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NewsNation’s television broadcast and digital properties relies on the AP for all vote counting and race calls. NewsNation chose to rely on the AP because they call races based on the facts.

The vast majority of the ballots still being counted are from Maricopa County, the most populous area of the state. The next update from elections officials in Arizona is expected around 9 p.m. EST Thursday.

The Trump campaign says it is confident the president will overtake Biden when all votes in the state are tallied.

The AP called the race in Arizona for Biden at 2:50 a.m. ET Wednesday after an analysis of ballots cast statewide concluded Trump could not catch up in the ballots left to be counted.

Arizona has a long political history of voting Republican. It’s the home state of Barry Goldwater, a five-term, conservative senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1964. John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, represented the state in Congress from 1983 until his 2018 death.

In 2016, Donald Trump won Arizona by a margin of 3.5 points against Hillary Clinton.

But changing demographics, including a fast-growing Latino population and a boom of new residents — some fleeing the skyrocketing cost of living in neighboring California — have made the state friendlier to Democrats.

Many of the gains have been driven by the shifting politics of Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and its suburbs. Maricopa County accounts for 60% of the state’s vote, and Biden leads there by 4.2 percentage points in votes that have already been tabulated.

Democrat Mark Kelly won election to U.S. Senate from Arizona, beating incumbent Sen. Martha McSally, AP called Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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