Arizona Gov. Ducey to face Democratic educator in November

Arizona Gov. Ducey to face Democratic educator in November
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will face a college professor in November, in a state in which teacher protests scrambled the political landscape earlier this year.
David Garcia, an education policy expert who teaches at Arizona State University, won the state’s Democratic primary on Tuesday with 48 percent of the vote, The Associated Press projected with 3 percent of precincts reporting.
Ducey, seeking his second term in office, won the Republican nomination with 70 percent of the vote, ahead of former Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R).
Garcia is making his second run for public office, after narrowly losing a 2014 bid for state Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Garcia has played up his education credentials, touring the state in a school bus. He hopes to capitalize on energy left over from a weeklong teacher’s strike earlier this year in Arizona, when 20,000 teachers clad in red shirts marched against cuts to education funding and low pay.
Ducey ended the strike by signing a deal to raise teacher pay by 19 percent over the next three years. Those raises begin this fall, when teachers will see a 9 percent salary hike.
The legislation will also restore some of the $400 million in cuts to education budgets made during the depths of the recession.
The only public poll conducted during the primary showed Garcia and Ducey virtually tied. Republicans have already started to hammer Garcia in paid television spots, underscoring Ducey’s unease with his own political standing.
But the party has not had good luck in the race for governor in recent years. Republicans have won five of the last seven gubernatorial elections; Janet Napolitano is the only Democrat to have run the state since the beginning of the 1990s.