Dems highlight tightening race in McCain's home state
Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday October 29, 2008

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It's generally the case that if a presidential candidate can count on winning any electoral votes, it's those from his home state.

John McCain might not be so lucky this year. The Arizona Republican is holding on to narrowing leads in several recent polls, causing local Democrats and Barack Obama's campaign to contemplate a more concerted push for the state.

"I'm hoping they can free up a little bit of that money strategically to help us get over the top here," Arizona Democratic Party chair Don Bivens said Wednesday, referring to the Obama campaign.

Bivens, speaking to reporters on a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee, said he has asked the Obama campaign to devote more resources to Arizona, but the campaign has yet to make any firm commitment to contest the state.

An Obama campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to RAW STORY's request for comment.

Changing demographics in Arizona account for much of McCain's weakening position, Bivens said, noting that half of registered voters have voted in at most one election where their senior senator has been up for re-election. Assuming McCain doesn't win the presidency, Bivens predicted Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano would have a good chance of taking his Senate seat in a 2010 race.

"We've known for a long time that John McCain was vulnerable here," Bivens said, noting that the GOP nominee pulled less than half of the state's votes during the primary earlier this year.

Bivens cited "feuds" with grassroots Republican activists in the state and McCain's intense focus on running for president with turning off voters back home.

McCain, the son and grandson of Navy admirals, is not a native of Arizona. He was born at a US Navy air station in the Panama Canal Zone and grew up outside of Washington. It wasn't until he met Cindy Hensley, the woman who would become his second wife, that McCain moved to Arizona to work for her father's beer distributorship before running for Congress and launching what has become his 25-year political career.

"It is his home state -- I think two of his 12 homes are here," Bivens joked, referring to an earlier dust-up over McCain's inability to remember the vast extent of his and his wife's real estate holdings.