/ Modified nov 18, 2020 10:24 a.m.

Election analysis, recreational marijuana legalized, honoring veterans

The leaders of Arizona's political parties also discuss their takeaways from the election.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story and video incorrectly stated the outcome of the Pima County treasurer race. Republican incumbent Beth Ford won the race.

More than a week after polls closed, the race to count every ballot continued in Arizona – even after victories in other states gave Joe Biden enough electoral votes to take the White House. We heard from the heads of Arizona’s political parties, beginning with Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward.

Her party joined the Trump Campaign and Republican National Committee in a lawsuit challenging counting in Maricopa County. Ward said until the results are certified, President Trump and Republican Sen. Martha McSally still had a path to victory.

“Not one state has certified an election as of the time of this interview,” Ward said. “So the only people who have actually called the election are the media. And as we all know, there is nowhere in the constitution that the mainstream media calls elections. So at this point we do not have a president-elect in our country.”

“I’ve had some people on Twitter say, ‘Why don’t you just be a gracious loser?’ I will tell you that I will be gracious. I’ll be gracious in the dining room but in this fight I’m a warrior. I’m a warrior for Republicans, I’m a warrior for election integrity and I’m still a warrior for President Donald J. Trump,” Ward said.

While Democratic candidates in Arizona triumphed at the top of the ticket, down ballot they did not flip any U.S. House seats or claim a majority in either chambers of the state Legislature. Arizona 360 heard from Arizona Democratic Party Chair Felecia Rotellini about takeaways from the election and the party’s path forward.

“I would define our state as blue. We have two U.S. Senators from the Democratic Party. That hasn’t happened in over 60 years. We’ve sent our Electoral College votes to the Biden-Harris team,” Rotellini said. “We had a very, very, aggressive, strategic program to flip historically red seats up and down the ballot. We were successful in some, we weren’t successful in others.”

Rotellini said Democrats managed to flip a seat in the Arizona Senate, narrowing the Republican party’s advantage in the chamber and giving Democrats more bargaining power during the next legislative session.

“With our gain of another seat in the State Senate in Legislative District 28. Republicans are going to have to work with the Democrats. And I believe that will be an advantage that will be beneficial to the entire state.

Arizona was one of several states this election cycle where voters passed measures to legalize recreational marijuana. Proposition 207, also known as the Safe and Secure Act, allows for recreational use and sales. It comes a decade after voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana. Tony Paniagua reports on some of the next steps as the law takes effect and how rules around recreational marijuana will differ from medical use.

Election results in Pima County resemble the closest thing to a blue wave in Arizona. Democrats extended their reach by claiming an additional seat on the Pima County Board of Supervisors and appearing to also reclaim the sheriff’s department. For analysis on the results, Arizona 360 host Lorraine Rivera turned to the Green Valley News/Sahuarita Sun’s Dan Shearer and 1030 KVOI AM Tipping Point host Zach Yentzer.

Amid a tumultuous election, this week the nation took time to honor veterans. The pandemic led to canceled parades and scaled-down events for Veterans Day, but it did not hamper tradition at the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery at Marana. There we met retired Lt. Col. Ken Robinson as he and others planted flags on each grave.

Robinson is a member of the Arizona Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery Foundation, which handles fundraising for beautification projects at the cemetery. You can learn more about their efforts and how to donate here.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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