Call it their fail-safe option.

If Joe Biden were to lose a critical Midwest battleground like Michigan or Wisconsin, Democrats are counting on Arizona to bail him out, acting as a potential replacement state with enough electoral power to prevent President Donald Trump’s re-election.

After Trump carried this emerging swing state by just over 91,000 votes four years ago, some Republicans are now already bracing for a defeat that could “cut deeply down the ballot,” as one GOP aide in state government put it.

With early voting now underway and Democrats consistently tracking Biden with a 3-to-4 point lead, the Trump campaign is planning additional visits here from the ticket as soon as this week, attempting to salvage a reliably red bastion as suburban women are turning away from the GOP in droves.

“It’s fairly close. If anybody has a slight polling advantage it would be Biden,” said Constantin Querard, a conservative political consultant in Phoenix, “but the Trump campaign is much stronger on the ground.”

While the Trump operation has maintained a vigorous door-knocking presence throughout most of the pandemic, a battery of Democratic groups have been working online to mobilize the two constituencies most crucial to their success: Latinos — which now make up 24 percent of eligible voters here — and moderate Republican women.

Bettina Nava, a former state director for Sen. John McCain, falls into both groups. The lifelong Republican welled up in tears during a recent zoom call with the Arizona Democratic Party as she spoke about her decision to endorse Biden due to Trump’s divisiveness.

“I’m following my conscience,” she said. “Under a Biden-Harris ticket, we can return to those civil conversations about the great debates of our time. That’s what we need to be doing. You notice I didn’t say agreement over

KEY POINTS

  • The New Jersey bill mandates total divestment from coal companies within two years
  • New Jersey Treasury Department, which administers the pension fund, opposes the divestment bill
  • The oil and gas sector now only accounts for about 2.5% of the market cap of the S&P 500 index

The State of New Jersey may soon order its state pension fund to divest from fossil fuels, following a long list of other state, municipal and national pension funds that have already done so.

In a recent op-ed published in the Newark Star-Ledger newspaper, Richard J. Codey (a former governor of New Jersey) and Tom Sanzillo (director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis) wrote that it is high time for the Garden State to pull out of fossil fuel investments — for both environmental and financial reasons.

New Jersey State Senators Bob Smith and Linda Greenstein, both Democrats, have sponsored the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill — Senate Bill S330 — which calls for the state pension fund to withdraw from fossil fuels.

Specifically, the bill would prohibit state pension funds from investing in any of the top 200 companies “that hold the largest carbon content fossil fuel reserves.”

The bill also mandates total divestment from coal companies within two years, and withdrawal from all other fossil fuel companies by Jan. 1, 2022.

However, the New Jersey Treasury Department, which administers the pension fund, opposes the bill, suggesting, among other things, that jettisoning energy investments would lower annual returns.

But the editorial disputed that assertion.

“The proposed legislation provides the right financial solution,” Codey and Sanzillo wrote. “Oil and gas companies once led the world economy and contributed mightily to pension fund returns. Today, however, and for the last 10 years, the oil and gas sector has performed