Hillary Clinton reveled in reliably red Arizona Wednesday, seeking to pluck a Republican state away from Donald Trump in the closing days of the caustic race for the White House.
"This state is in play for the first time in years," Clinton exclaimed during a nighttime rally on the campus of Arizona State University. She was greeted by a boisterous crowd of 15,000, one of her largest of the campaign.
Clinton's campaign has been eyeing Arizona for weeks. The state has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate only once since 1952 — Bill Clinton in his 1996 re-election campaign — but Clinton's team believes it's winnable this year given Trump's deep unpopularity with Hispanics.
Clinton painted a grim view of life for Hispanics under a Trump administration. She also waded into a local sheriff's race getting national attention, backing Democrat Paul Penzone in the race for Maricopa County sheriff, a post held by immigration hardliner Joe Arpaio.
"I think it's time you had a new sheriff in town, don't you?" she said.
And in a nod to Republicans, she called out Trump for his criticism in the GOP primary of Carly Fiorina, the only woman to seek her party's nomination. Clinton called Fiorina "a distinguished woman with a tremendous record of accomplishment."
Clinton arrived in Arizona following a rally in Las Vegas, where she urged voters to imagine what life would be like if Trump is inaugurated on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in January. For Hispanics, she said, that would mean having a president "who doesn't see you as Americans." And for blacks, she said it would mean having a president who believes their lives are consumed by "crime and poverty and despair."
For Clinton, the final full week of the presidential campaign has turned into a greatest hits list of her most searing attacks on Trump and the Republican's most glaring missteps. On Tuesday, she campaigned in Florida with Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe winner whom Trump criticized for gaining weight, and slammed Trump repeatedly for his demeaning comments about women.
In Las Vegas Wednesday, Clinton took aim at Trump's feud with an American-born judge of Mexican heritage who ruled against the businessman in an ongoing legal matter. Trump said earlier this year that Judge Gonzalo Curiel's Mexican roots meant he had a conflict of interest in the case given Trump's proposal to build a wall along the U.S. Southern border.
Clinton said Curiel "is as American as Donald Trump."
Clinton's efforts to sharpen the contrast with Trump has left her campaign shrouded in a dark, negative tone as she closes out her White House bid. It's a conscious choice her campaign says is necessary as polls tighten ahead of next Tuesday's election.
"The fact is the choice that Donald Trump represents is pretty dark," Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri told reporters traveling with Clinton to Nevada Wednesday. "You need to make it real for voters who are undecided."
Clinton's camp says it saw polls tightening even before the FBI announced Friday that it was reviewing new material that could be related to a dormant investigation into the former secretary of state's handling of classified information. While Clinton says the FBI has "no case," the review has set Democrats on edge, worried that it could turn off late-deciding voters.