Swing State Update: Trump and Biden battle over Arizona as debate over immigration intensifies

Arizona is a swing state in the upcoming 2024 election. This photo is a map of AZ.
Courtesy of MGN.

By Aparna Prabhakar

With eleven electoral votes up for grabs, Arizona’s positioning as a key swing state has attracted intense campaign efforts from both major candidates ahead of the upcoming presidential election. 

 Arizona remained a Republican stronghold for years. Since 1952, only two Democratic presidential candidates have ever won a majority of the state’s votes: first Bill Clinton in 1996, and then current president Joe Biden in 2020. This year, the state is one of the most crucial swing states in the election. 

Both leading candidates have funneled efforts and resources into campaigning in Arizona. Immediately following his trial regarding hush money payments, Republican nominee Donald Trump returned to the campaign trail in Arizona at the beginning of June. His strategy focuses on the pre-existing conservative voters in the historically Republican state. In his visit to the state, Trump partnered with conservative youth organization Turning Point USA in an effort to extend voter outreach. 

Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris have targeted a different audience, reaching out to voters of color and immigrants in the state. Biden’s most notable campaign event in Arizona took place at a Mexican restaurant owned by local community leaders. 

Political analysts have pinpointed immigration as the preeminent issue in Arizona. The state shares a border with Mexico that spans almost 400 miles. Although both Trump and Biden have passed and supported legislation restricting immigration and closing the southern border to asylum seekers, Biden has expressed support for and acted in favor of continued immigration. In the first year of his presidency, he overturned many of the immigration restrictions put in place by Trump. Most recently, the Biden administration announced a program that would grant citizenship status to half a million spouses of U.S. citizens. The move comes days after First Lady Jill Biden traveled to Arizona to continue campaign efforts.

As both candidates ramp up their campaigns, their focus on this crucial state will only amplify. In November, Arizona voters may hold the power to determine the outcome of the election.