By Elise Foley
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Arizona Democratic primary on Tuesday, adding another win in a state with a large minority population.
Her victory will award her a majority of the state’s 85 delegates, putting her another step closer to securing the Democratic nomination.
Clinton has consistently outperformed Sanders in states where a sizable proportion of Democratic voters are black or Latino, in spite of the senator’s efforts to win over minorities. Arizona has the fourth-largest proportion of Latinos of any state, behind New Mexico, California and Texas. Latinos make up about 31 percent of the population in Arizona and about 22 percent of its eligible voters.
Clinton won a majority of Arizona Latino Democratic primary voters in 2008, and went on to defeat now-President Barack Obama in that contest.
She likely benefitted this year from Arizona’s primary rules, which allow only registered Democrats to vote in its contest, meaning Sanders’ registered independent supporters were unable to participate.
Both Clinton and Sanders deployed high-profile Latino supporters to campaign for them Arizona. Labor Secretary Tom Perez and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta spoke at rallies for Clinton, and Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) campaigned for Sanders.
Clinton and Sanders went after Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a stand-in for anti-immigrant and anti-Latino stances. Arpaio, who supports Republican front-runner Donald Trump, leads a department that a judge determined has engaged in racial profiling, and has argued for policies that would round up more undocumented immigrants.
Clinton referenced Arpaio specifically during a Monday rally in Phoenix.
“We are a nation of immigrants and of exiles. When I see people like Sheriff Arpaio and others who are treating fellow human beings with such disrespect, with such contempt, it just makes my heart sink,” Clinton said, according to The Arizona Republic. “We are better than that.”
Sanders said last week that Arpaio was a bully, and accused the sheriff of ambushing his wife, Jane Sanders, when she visited Maricopa County’s “tent city” jail. The senator held a campaign event in front of the U.S.-Mexico border last weekend.
“We don’t need a wall, and we don’t need barbed wire,” he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We need to fix our broken criminal justice system.”
Beyond immigration, Sanders promised he would make a “massive federal investment” in Arizona, “one of the leaders in this country, and one of the leaders in the world, in producing solar energy.” He has also discussed the need for more policies aimed at helping Native Americans.
The Clinton campaign ran an advertisement on gun regulations featuring former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in the head in 2011 and went on to advocate for stronger checks on access to firearms.
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