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Arizona State professor David Garcia to run for governor

(KTAR Photo/GriseldaNevarez)

PHOENIX — David Garcia, who most recently ran for Arizona public schools chief, has set his sights higher, declaring his intention to run for governor in 2018.

Garcia, a Democrat, announced his candidacy late Wednesday afternoon, citing Gov. Doug Ducey’s school voucher plan as a major factor in his decision to run.

“I realized I could not run for superintendent of public instruction (again) because my job would be to implement that bill,” he said. “… I told folks I would run for the position where I would have the most impact to improve our public schools,” Garcia, 47, said.

Ducey signed the expansion bill last week, which made the 1 million plus schoolchildren in the state eligible.

Democrats said the plan would hurt public education and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The program will give Arizona one of the country’s broadest voucher programs.

Garcia, an Arizona State University professor, was an assistant superintendent with the Department of Education. He ran for superintendent of public schools in 2014 and lost in a close general election to Republican Diane Douglas.

Democratic state Sen. Steve Farley is also considering a challenge to Ducey.

Political unknown Noah Dyer has also announced a long-shot bid for the Democratic nomination.

Ducey hasn’t said whether he would seek a second term. Earlier this week he said campaign seasons were too long and he would discuss his next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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