To a crowd of thousands, former President Bill Clinton gave a ringing endorsement for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona.
Clinton appeared at the rally at Arizona State University Wednesday night to kick off early voting in Arizona. His appearance was a few hours after Carmona and Republican Jeff Flake squared off in a debate.
They are in a tight race for Jon Kyl's old Senate seat.
Flake is a six-term congressman. Carmona was surgeon general under President George W. Bush.
Carmona's campaign was expecting 5,000 attendees, but around 9,000 people showed up and ASU's Performance Lawn was at-capacity.
Clinton took the stage around 9:30 p.m. He praised Carmona's record as a veteran, a surgeon, and a law enforcement officer.
"I was honored when this man, a lifelong Independent, decided he would run on our party's ticket for the United States Senate. Not because I thought he would be a party-line man down the line, but because I thought he believed in the fundamental things that matter today, that shared prosperity is better than trickle-down economics," said Clinton.
He was on stage for about 30 minutes. It was so crowded that people who couldn't get in were lined up outside the gate.
"My opponent keeps trying to intimate that he's something other than a Democrat. This plants him fairly in the Democratic camp. We always knew it would be close, so we welcome anybody who will come in and bring economic development to Arizona, by tourism or whatever else. So President Clinton is welcome to be here," said Jeff Flake, Carmona's opponent in the U.S. Senate race.