But for Bill Clinton’s victory in the state in 1996, Arizona has preferred Republican presidents in every election since 1952. Still, Trump’s lock on the state didn't appear completely airtight until Tuesday evening.
Hillary Clinton and Trump polled a surprisingly competitive race in the state to the very end, though Trump has held a slight lead over the past few weeks. On Election Day, TPM's PollTracker Average showed Trump leading Clinton 45 percent to 43.1 percent.
Such optimism was apparently misguided, at least judging from Trump's unexpectedly strong showing nationwide.
Both of Arizona’s Republican U.S. senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, publicly denounced their party’s nominee, and 4,000 more registered Democrats than registered Republicans voted early in the state, according to CNN.
Cautiously optimistic Democrats had hoped, against the odds, that Trump’s harsh rhetoric about immigration from Mexico would motivate an impenetrable “wall” of Latino voters. And Trump wasn’t alone in tempting an increasingly central demographic group to turn out: Asked by the Boston Globe recently if she was concerned that new Latino voters could tip the state for Hillary Clinton, former Arizona governor and Trump surrogate Jan Brewer was dismissive.
“Nah,” she said. “They don’t get out and vote. They don’t vote.”
Brewer was wrong about Latino voting trends in 2016, though: New voter registration and early voting numbers showed an increasingly engaged Latino population.
The Phoenix New Times reported that Arizona also counted 150,000 newly-registered voters this year, most of them likely Latino, a group that makes up 31 percent of the state’s population, according to a study from Pew Hispanic.
But in Arizona, and in many other states around the nation, that alone was not enough to stop Trump.