Clinton appearance signals hope for Arizona Democrats in Senate
October 6th, 2012
05:14 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton appearance signals hope for Arizona Democrats in Senate

(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton will lend his star power to the Senate race in Arizona when he campaigns for Democratic former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona at a rally Wednesday night.

Clinton's appearance at the rally at Arizona State University could be another sign that the Democrats think they could take the Senate seat in the final month of the election.

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A number of partisan polls - both Republican and Democrat - in the last month show a tight race between Carmona and six-term Congressman Jeff Flake.

Recently, the Cook Political Report moved the race from “leans Republican” to a toss-up race, while the Rothenberg Political Report maintained the races as “toss-up/tilt Republican.”

And last week, the Democratic National Senatorial Committee announced a $526,000 weeklong ad buy in Arizona, the Washington Post reported.

Not to be outmatched, Club for Growth, a leading fiscal conservative group, pumped $500,000 into ads in Arizona last week.

The Club for Growth ad asked Arizona voters, “Do you know that a vote for Carmona is a vote to put liberals in charge of the U.S. Senate?"

With one-third of the Senate’s seats up for election in 2012 – and about a third of those are hotly contested - each seat won by either party could tip the balance of power.

The DSCC countered with a buy that brought their two-week total to over $1 million.

Clinton, who ended his two-term presidency with a 66% approval rating, according to a Gallup poll, has been a valuable asset to Democratic campaigns – both Congressional and presidential.

Following a well-received speech at the Democratic National Convention last month, Clinton’s appearance for Carmona this week could also help the Obama campaign in the Grand Canyon State.

That’s because the state that five-term Arizona Sen. John McCain carried by more than 8 points during his 2008 presidential bid is also in play for Democrats in the presidential election.

Arizona’s 11 Electoral College votes are labeled "leaning Romney" on the CNN Electoral Map. Key members of the Obama campaign, including Vice President Joe Biden, have indicated they think Arizona is up for grabs.

"We think we have a real shot at winning the presidential race here in Arizona," Biden said at a campaign event in Arizona in April.

Obama senior adviser David Axelrod signaled the campaign was looking to sway leaning states during an appearance on CNN's “State of the Union” last Sunday.

"We are always looking, always looking for opportunities, and, you know, we’re heartened by what we see, not just in these battleground states, but some of the states that weren’t battleground states,” Axelrod said when asked about campaign activity in Arizona.

Arizona has only voted for one Democratic presidential candidate in 60 years.

Before heading to Arizona, Clinton will join President Barack Obama Sunday in Los Angeles at a private fundraiser and then campaign alone for the president in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

- CNN’s Kevin Bohn and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Arizona • Bill Clinton
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    The best move for Democrats hoping to keep their jobs in the Senate? Distance yourself from Obama while there is enough time to make that message believable. Elections are upon us.

    October 6, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Hammerer

    Maybe Clinton can explain the drop in the unemploymemt rate.
    The Labor Dept reported 114,000 workers added to the payrolls in Sept, but they claim that 843,000 workers found word. Does that mean over 700,000 are working for free or that 8.4 workers are sharing the same job and paycheck?

    October 6, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. MaryM

    Go get them Bill

    October 6, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Joni Johnson

    I think Clinton is starting to lose his lustre as a cheerleader for Democratic candidates. It's kind of sad that despite being such a shoo-in on Nov. 6, according to so many political pundits and poll analysts like Nate Silver, Obama cannot spare a minute to campaign with down ballot candidates (and a Senate candidate is hardly down ballot). Instead, Clinton–who looks very tired–is pressed into service.

    October 6, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Bernard obryant

    Go clinton obama trill at 7.8 percent unemployment record that mean job are comin back slowly . Bill clinton is good for obama eagel but we still have work to do

    October 6, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Chris

    Clinton is great for Obama. Less polarizing than Obama, less wierd than Biden. His comments about Clinton arithmetic are spot-on

    October 6, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. Caribbean Reader

    Poor President Clinton has to run around trying to give cover to President Obama. How long will The President hide behind the former President?

    October 6, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. t. sears

    Flake is anti-Amtrak and for that reason alone i hope he loses. US needs a national train system.

    October 6, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  9. Jangel

    Not gonna happen. Real country here: west of ny, east of ca.

    October 6, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. Nancy

    Why do the liberals parade this guy around? He's the one (along with Jimmy Carter) who wrecked our economy in 2007 with the sub-prime mortgage collapse. How come liberals never seem to know the details? They want to blame it on Bush instead.

    October 6, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This should prove interesting. If both sides are putting so much into this race, then where aren't they supporting the candidate?

    October 6, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  12. Hollywood

    Its tn bad that Bill couldn't fill in for Obama in the national debates.

    October 7, 2012 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  13. SafeJourney

    Bill, always happy to hear you speak

    October 7, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. Thomas Aristy

    Carmona is a Republican wet dream gone democrat.A decorated Vietnam Vet, A doctor, a police officer, Swat Team member and actually killed a man who wounded him as a police officer. A man of Action and Conviction. GEORGE BUSH selected him as Surgeon General of the US and the Senate confirmed him 98-0. Jeff Flake, well he sides with the tea party and is part of the lowest ranked House of Representatives in US History.

    October 7, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |