Don't write off Arizona as a red state, argues a Salon.com article. Women turned off by Bush's extremist right-wing rhetoric yet still Republican are veering away from the party line, a trait that signals maturity in the eyes of one longtime Arizona resident and lifelong Republican Judith Allen.

Although it is traditionally conservative, Arizona boasts a fiercely independent and occasionally progressive streak. It's the state that produced Barry Goldwater, the far right-winger who morphed into a maverick conservative, as well as the poster child for political independence, John McCain. In 1998, voters elected the "Fabulous Five," the country's first all-female line of succession: governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer and superintendent of public instruction. These days, with its constant influx of new residents and Phoenix's recent designation as the country's fifth-largest city, Arizona's political landscape still is tough to categorize. But the last gubernatorial election signaled what many consider to be a powerful shift.

In 2002, the Republican Party pitted a far-right, pro-life conservative, Matt Salmon, against a moderate, pro-choice Democrat named Janet Napolitano. Napolitano, who was tough on crime and favored the death penalty while serving as the state's attorney general, won by only 1 percent or 11,819 votes to become the state's first elected Democratic governor in 20 years. ...

"I used to think, and I know many people do, you define yourself by your party," she says. "And since I have not been in [elected] office, I've realized, first, that I am an American. And I really don't want to be defined as a party because currently the party doesn't represent me."

[Thanks again to D.P. for this article.]


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