Biden Campaign Launches in Arizona

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Alma Hernandez at canvass
Alma Hernandez, running for re-election in District 3 in Tucson, addresses volunteers at a canvass.

The very first canvassing event for Joe Biden launched yesterday in Tucson, with nearly two dozen diverse volunteers, young and old, eagerly knocking on doors. The Biden kickoff event was hosted by state Rep. Alma Hernandez and her sister Consuelo, who is running for Pima County Recorder.

Biden campaign volunteers gathered in Mitchell Park in mid-town Tucson on a beautiful, sunny day. On Sunday, canvassing starts at Harelson Park in Tempe, 9325 W. Warner Ranch Drive.

Hassan at Canvass for Biden
Hassan, in the black hoodie, breaks a smile as volunteers check in.

I was ready to roll in a blue LD9 t-shirt and a Tilley hat. My awesome canvassing partner was Hassan, a junior in high school. We used his canvassing list in the MiniVan because I was unable to log in, and he, of course, had no trouble. Hassan navigated and gave me the names of people we called on.

Our canvass went just great. Every person we visited was friendly and receptive. When I asked people what their issues were, they said: “just beat Trump.” Right on! We did call on a house with a black steel fence, enclosing a pavilion. The homeowner turned out to be a Republican and we politely backed off.

I’ve been a Democratic precinct committeeman since 2006, and Hassan got interested in Biden when a friend invited him to the canvass. His favorite class in high school is US history. I told him of my love for biographies of great Democratic presidents.

At our visits, Hassan collected signatures for Alma and Consuelo Hernandez and I handed out palm cards for them and Biden. Alma Hernandez is the youngest person to serve in Arizona’s state legislature and was named a Latina Leader to Watch.

Hassan was very good with street directions and names as we traveled on E. Edison Street.

Canvassing for Biden
A friendly, diverse array of people filled out the volunteers.

There are 79 delegates at stake in Arizona, with the primary (Presidential Preference Election) taking place on Tuesday, March 17. Many people we called on had already voted by mail. Sanders held a rally the day before in Phoenix, but we saw only one house with Sanders window signs. Most Democrats that I talk to are very comfortable with Biden.

FiveThiryEight says Biden has an 89% chance of winning the nomination, and Sanders has a 2% chance. Of course, Arizona is a purple, battleground state. Real Clear Politics shows Trump beating Sanders in Arizona and a tossup between Trump and Biden in the state. Statistics like these prompted me to get out and canvass.

The Republicans have no primary in Arizona — because Trump is a fascist who brooks no dissent. Hassan talked about the primary as we walked on.

Three visits stood out. We knocked on one door and I saw the woman’s pink highlights. I knew this would go well. She was an avid Democrat and we had a delightful chat. At another house, the owner was talking to a landscaper outside in the yard. She was happy to sign all our petitions and offered to be a volunteer.

The third visit I’ll always remember. The owner was a very elderly woman who stood with the help of a pole as she tried to pin a blanket on her clothesline. Her hands shook terribly. She said she had also broken her ankle recently. Despite all that, she knew all about the candidates. She struggled as she signed our petition.

It is persistence and durability like hers that wins elections.