PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano on Friday endorsed Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.
Napolitano visited the Illinois senator’s Phoenix campaign office to endorse him during a conference call with Obama and reporters.
The endorsement is a major gain for Obama in his race against chief rival Hillary Rodham Clinton. One of several female governors, Napolitano is in her second term.
Napolitano is the most prominent Democrat in Arizona and her endorsement could be significant in a state now regarded as winnable by a Democratic presidential candidate after decades as a near-lock for Republicans.
“This endorsement is based on my belief in your leadership and vision and the fact that we need a new message of hope and solidarity of coming together in Washington, D.C.,” Napolitano told Obama.
After the call ended, Napolitano explained why she made the decision to choose Obama over Clinton.
“I chose Sen. Obama because … to me, this election is fundamentally about change. It’s about a new vision in Washington, D.C. It’s about bringing people of different areas of the country together, it’s about bringing people of different parties together, people of different ages together. To me, Sen. Obama is evidence of that change that we need.”