Arizona burst onto the national political stage last year as a swing state where election results could have a national impact.
For the 2020 presidential election, Maricopa County voters will stay on that stage all year long.
The NBC News political team is moving in for a yearlong series called “County to County.” Reporters will be embedded in five swing counties that could decide who wins the White House.
Chuck Todd, “Meet the Press” moderator and NBC News political director, told me that Arizona is one of three states that could deliver the winning votes on Election Night.
“You are bright purple. You are bright purple to me,” Todd said during a “Sunday Square Off” interview from Washington, D.C.
The 2020 vote is expected to solidify Arizona’s status as a “purple state.” Maricopa County voters account for six of every 10 ballots cast in Arizona.
President Donald Trump narrowly won the state in 2016. Several Democrats won county- and statewide offices in 2016 and 2018, ending droughts that lasted decades.
A Democrat hasn’t won the presidential vote in Arizona in almost a quarter century, since President Bill Clinton in 1996.
The four other counties in “County to County” are Milwaukee County, Wisconsin; Kent County, Michigan (includes Grand Rapids); Beaver County, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh); and Miami-Dade County, Florida.
“Meet the Press” airs at 7 a.m. Sundays on 12 News, before “Sunday Square Off” at 8 a.m.