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Arizona's Wild Race

Former President Bill Clinton at a rally for Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona Wednesday night in Tempe.
Tracy Greer
Former President Bill Clinton at a rally for Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona Wednesday night in Tempe.

Last night former President Bill Clinton stumped to a crowd of a few thousand in Tempe, Ariz. Both he and Alt-Rock band Jimmy Eat World were there to captivate the young audience at Arizona State University.

They were endorsing U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona. The Democratic underdog. But as a fascinating article by Terry Greene Sterling in The Atlantic points out, he's gaining momentum both in a rapidly changing race and state.

The political climate among registered voters in Arizona is diverse and interesting. (via, The Atlantic)

In a state where Republicans (about 1.1 million voters) and independents (about 1 million voters) outnumber Democrats (about 935,000 voters), Carmona needs to cobble together votes of Hispanics, Native Americans, veterans, cops, union members, and moderates of all stripes.

It is also a state that's 30 percent Hispanic. And, as we reported earlier in the week, they are making up a growing voting demographic. A young activist group "Adios Arpaio" was especially successful in tapping into the block. From our report:

[Adios Arpaio] had registered more than 20,000 new voters after months of canvassing the city’s predominantly Latino neighborhoods. By the eve of the voter registration deadline on Monday, that number had surpassed 30,000.

To be blunt, this huge voting block was not inspired by Carmona, Clinton or Jimmy Eat World. Adios Arpaio was able to register over 30,000 new voters through the hope of defeating lightening rod Sheriff Joe Arapio. The controversial sheriff who's a hawk or a vigilante, depending who you ask.

But, it's still a long road to election night. Republicans in Arizona are not too shaken, even if their candidate Jeff Flake's lead has shrunk to less than three points over Carmona. One solid number, Romney has a 7.6 lead over Obama. They even think Arpaio will continue to be a sheriff. The Atlantic:

[Republicans are] confident Arpaio will survive, and they say Carmona's effort to brand Flake as an extremist isn't an indicator of shifting political winds in Arizona, but is instead part of a national political strategy to falsely label GOP candidates as anti-Hispanic, anti-woman, and anti-middle class. Tim Sifert, a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party, doesn't believe mainstream voters will react negatively to the party's past performance. After all, he says, the laws were passed with strong voter support.

Arizona will show it's true colors Election Night. I can't wait to watch.