Arizona’s 11 Democrat presidential electors a diverse group
PHOENIX (AP) — When Arizona’s 11 presidential electors meet Monday to formally vote for Democrat Joe Biden, they’ll be the focus of intense scrutiny during what is normally an afterthought in America’s elections.
This year’s electors are a diverse group of Democrats chosen by party officials to formalize their rare victory in the state.
Representing the party are three tribal leaders, a female Latina mayor, three labor union leaders, an openly gay Latino county supervisor, a Black member of the state utility regulation commission, the president of a county NAACP chapter and the state party chair, Felecia Rotellini.
The picks show Arizona’s Democratic Party is far more diverse than Republicans, where older, wealthy and mainly white electors dominated in 2016, when Trump won the state.
The meeting of Electoral College delegates at state capitols across the nation is embroiled in politics this year as supporters of President Donald Trump continue to argue that their candidate beat Biden in Arizona and other battleground states.
But the votes will be cast for Biden despite their efforts, in part due to “faithless elector” laws passed in Arizona and some other states. Those changes came after a handful of GOP electors in other states refused to back Trump in 2016.
That year Democrats urged the GOP’s electors to reject Trump, but that fell on deaf ears in Arizona.
Among the tribal leaders in this year’s group of Arizona presidential electors is Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, who called it a “great honor” to vote for Biden and his vice presidential running mate, Kamala Harris.
“As we know, the Navajo people helped flip Arizona blue in this year’s election — an indication that we have the power to influence and change the outcome of major elections,” Nez said.
The electors meet at 10 a.m. Monday. The event will be closed to the public but will be live-streamed on Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ Facebook page.
Besides Nez and Rotellini, the state’s Democratic electors include Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, Corporation Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, AFL-CIO leaders James McLaughlin and Fred Yamashita, Arizona Education Association Executive Director Luis Heredia and Pinal County NAACP president Constance Jackson.
Associated Press reporter Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff contributed.