1964 was an odd year in Morenci politics. That was believed to be the first time in history that voters here favored a Democratic candidate for U.S. President.
1952: Republican, 81%-19%.
1956: Republican 78%-22%.
1960: Republican 78%-22%.
Then came the anomaly when local voters favored Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater in 1964.
Voters returned to their roots four years later with the GOP on top, 68%-28%, and again in the next two cycles, 69%-31% and 70%-30%.
Voting preference slid to 60-40 in 1988 before challenging history again in 1992 with a 42-34 preference for Bill Clinton. It wasn’t a pure switchover to the Democratic side since Ross Perot took a whopping 23 percent of the vote—impressive for a third-party candidate.
Morenci went Democratic again in 1996, once more with Perot playing a factor. Clinton took 49 percent, Bob Dole was given 38 percent and Perot came in with 15 percent of the vote.
Local voters swung back to the GOP in the next two elections, but the margin was nothing like decades past. George W. Bush took a 53%-47% margin in 2000 and a 56%-44% edge in 2004.
Forget about party preference for a minute and think about a new trend that started in 1996—the disappearing voter. Only 53 percent of registered voters went to the polls that year. Four years later, only 54 percent of those registered voted their choice and there wasn’t much improvement in 2004.
With polls across the nation pointing toward the possibility of a Democratic president, perhaps Morenci will go that direction once again, maybe a strong choice without a third party candidate to skew the results.
And with record-high numbers of new voter registrations, perhaps interest in voting will be on the rise once again.
Do your part as an American citizen. Go to the polls next Tuesday and mark your preference. It’s your privilege and your right. Use it.