See 2012 Senate Elections - Who's Winning, Who's Losing for an overview of all 33 US Senate races, on a state-by-state basis.
The Incumbent US Senator
Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, rated the 4th most conservative U.S senator by the National Journal in 2007, was first elected in 1994, and comfortably reelected in 2000 and 2006. Kyl also served four terms in the House of Representatives, from 1987 to 1995.
Incumbent Sen. Jon Kyl is not running in 2012 for reelection to the U.S. Senate.
Arizona's 2012 US Senate Race
As of February 2012, six Republicans and five Democrats are likely running for Arizona's 2012 election to replace retiring Republican Sen. Jon Kyl. The filing deadline to enter the race is June 1, 2012.
Six-term Congressman Jeff Flake is strongly favored to win the Republican primary. Rep. Flake bills himself as a "true conservative" and "fiscal conservative," but has departed from Republican orthodoxy on several issues, most notably immigration reform.
The leading Democratic candidate is Dr. Richard Carmona, U.S. Surgeon General under President Bush from 2002 to 2006. Dr. Carmona, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is actually a registered Independent, but chose to run as a Democrat.
The Republican and Democratic primaries are slated for August 28, 2012.
Who Will Win?
Since only Republicans have held Arizona's two U.S. Senate seats for many decades, Republican Rep. Flake has long been considered the favorite to win this race. However, early polls show Carmona with stronger than expected appeal in this state where Hispanic voters comprise nearly 30% of the electorate.
The New York Times reported on February 15, 2012, "Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, remains favored to take the Senate seat of Senator Jon Kyl... But Mr. Flake now faces a spirited challenge from a former United States surgeon general, Richard H. Carmona, running as a Democrat and an outsider."
Recent Election Results
Arizona's two U.S. senators serving in the 112th Congress (2011 to 2012) are:
- Republican John McCain, serving his fifth term
- Republican Jon Kyl, serving his third term
Both Governor Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett are Republicans.
In the last four presidential elections, Arizona voted as follows:
- 2008 - 54% for Republican McCain, 45% for Democrat Obama
- 2004 - 55% for Republican Bush, 44% for Democrat Kerry
- 2000 - 51% for Republican Bush, 45% for Democrat Gore
- 1996 - 47% for Democrat Clinton, 44% for Republican Dole, 9% for Other
Unemployment Rate as of June 2011 - 9.3%, just above the national average and ranking 16th among all states.
Foreclosure Rates as of June 2011 - Arizonans are suffering the second highest home foreclosure rate in the nation, 1 in 205 homes, which is will above the national foreclosure average of 1 of 583 homes.
State Residents Living Below Poverty-Level Income - Arizona has a high poverty-level rate, 14.7%, which ranks 13th among all states. Poverty in Arizona is concentrated among its Native-American and Hispanic populations.
Hispanic Population - Arizona has one of the nation's highest Hispanic populations, 29.6% of all Grand Canyon state residents, which ranks 4th among all states, behind only western states California, Texas and New Mexico, and just ahead of Nevada and Colorado.
Senior Citizen Population - 13.8% of Arizonans are over 65 years old, a fairly high percentage, and ranking #18 among all states.
Labor Union Membership - 254,000 of Arizona workers, 9.8% of all workers in the state, are labor union members, which gives labor unions some influence over state politics.
Women as a Percentage of Arizona's Population - 50.3% of Arizona residents are women, which ranks 39th among all states.
African-American Population - Only 4% of Arizona residents are of African-American heritage, which ranks 33rd among all states.