Arizona Democrats pin hopes on Latino, young voters



KINGMAN - The Arizona Democratic Party has identified three key constituencies that could shift the balance of power in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., in seven months, according to a Mohave County Democrats presentation Monday.

From the ground up, young voters, the Latino community, and single women could mean the difference between victory and defeat in Arizona, a state that, as of last month, has more voters registered as independents rather than Republicans or Democrats, according to Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office.

It's been a steadily growing trend that could be seen from two decades away, according to information provided by Bennett's office, and mirrors national voter registration trends with more than 40 percent of Americans identifying as independent.

That leaves plenty of political battleground for the Republican and Democrat parties, whose primary election candidates now face the challenge of appealing to an independent voter base that stands at a calculated distance from their platforms, and has a historically low turnout on primary election day.

Mohave County Democrats opened their meeting Monday night in Kingman with a discussion on voter apathy, and not only how to bring the 23,000 registered Democrats in Mohave County out to the polls, but how to reach Mohave County's independent voter base as well, by addressing issues that matter to them directly.

Bennett announced in March that "independents" have now become the largest bloc in the state with 1,134,243 voters out of 3.2 million, which represents an increase of 10,245 since the January report.

That represents a larger demographic than the 1,130,170 registered Arizona Republicans, 960,701 registered Arizona Democrats, and 25,595 registered Libertarians.

There are 73 voter precincts in Mohave County, and there are at least half a dozen volunteer precinct committee persons the Mohave Democrats are currently looking to elect.

Precinct committeemen and women act as the main communication between the Arizona Democratic Party and Mohave County voters, they said during Monday's meeting, and are often recognized as part of President Obama's election campaign success strategy.

Some said they think voters are apathetic right now because they feel the political process is corrupted by money interests and media manipulation, and that their votes don't matter enough to have an impact. Others said there are not enough compelling issues for the common voter which impact them directly.

"We don't want to be beholden to corporate interests. We don't want to be bought," said Mohave County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Joe Longoria. "Can we win? The answer is yes. But we have many obstacles to overcome."

"Staying true to your beliefs is more important than worrying about winning," said Mikel Weisser, the secretary for the county Democrats and a candidate for District 4 U.S. House of Representatives.

The Mohave Democrats said they will hold a voter registration event at their Kingman office the first Friday in May, which will include food, beverages and live music.

For more information, call (928) 753-0006 or go to

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