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Arizona Newspaper Breaks With Tradition, Backs Clinton

People in the audience cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Phoenix in March. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

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Carolyn Kaster/AP

People in the audience cheer as Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Phoenix in March.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Arizona Republic has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president — the first time the newspaper has backed a Democrat in its history.

The Republic's editorial board writes that Clinton understands what the position demands: "a steady hand, a cool head, and the ability to think carefully before acting." And it pointedly concludes that her Republican rival, Donald Trump, does not.

The newspaper acknowledged serious missteps by Clinton, including her use of a personal email server for State Department business and the possibility that Clinton Foundation donors were angling for special access. But the editorial board concluded that Trump's lack of discipline posed a much more serious threat.

"The president commands our nuclear arsenal. Trump can't command his own rhetoric," the newspaper argues. "Were he to become president, his casual remarks — such as saying he wouldn't defend NATO partners from invasion — could have devastating consequences."

The Republic also took aim at Trump's hard-line stance against illegal immigration, which has been a contentious issue in Arizona. "We don't need a repeat of that divisive, unproductive fiasco on the national level," wrote the editorial board.

Other conservative newspapers have also broken with decades of tradition to endorse Clinton, including the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Dallas Morning News. Endorsements tend to carry extra weight when they step outside a typical partisan formula.

Clinton also scored the endorsement of a prominent Virginia Republican, former Sen. John Warner. Clinton's running mate, Tim Kaine, D-Va., praised Warner as a politician who has "always put country and commonwealth above everything else."

Virginia has emerged as a key battleground state, and with its large Latino population, Arizona is also moving in that direction. Clinton currently leads Trump by an average of 6 points in Virginia. She trails Trump by 2 points in Arizona, according to an average of polls compiled by Real Clear Politics."