Speed Reads

Numbers don't lie

Arizona just turned from a red state to purple

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Arizona — the state that elected Gov. Jan Brewer (R), tried to enshrine the country's strongest anti-immigrant laws, and passed a bill allowing businesses to refuse service to gays and lesbians (which Brewer then vetoed) — is no longer majority-Republican. On Monday, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said that 35 percent of Arizona voters are now registered independents, narrowly beating out Republicans for the first time and pretty solidly trouncing registered Democrats, at 29 percent.

The uptick in registered independents follows a national trend. "I don't think that today's announcement comes as a surprise to most people," said Bennett, a Republican who's vying to replace Brewer when her term ends in the fall. A generation ago, only about 12 percent of Arizonans were independents, versus 45 percent Republican and 42 percent Democrats. Republican and Democratic political consultants each told The Associated Press that the embrace of the independent label will be good for their party. But it sounds more like an invitation to a third-party candidate.