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Arizona gubernatorial candidates Ducey, Garcia could debate 2 times

(AP photos)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was expected to take part in two televised debates this month as part of his re-election campaign, it was announced this week.

The debates are scheduled for Sept. 24 at the Arizona PBS studio in Phoenix and Sept. 25 at the AZPM Studio in Tucson. The Tucson debate will also be broadcast in Phoenix on KJZZ.

Ducey, a Republican, will face Democratic nominee David Garcia in the Nov. 6 general election.

Garcia challenged Ducey to three televised debates — one each in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma — before the incumbent committed to two on Thursday.

“There is a clear contrast of ideas in this election. It’s important Arizonans throughout the state have the chance to hear about the issues important to them,” J.P. Twist, Ducey’s campaign manager, said in a statement.

“The governor looks forward to sharing his record on the economy, historic investments in education, and work to make Arizona a safer, better place to live, work and raise a family.”

It will be the first time Ducey has participated in a debate this campaign season: He was challenged to a debate by then-Republican primary opponent Ken Bennett ahead of last month’s primary election, but Ducey, according to The Arizona Republic, declined because he considered him a “fringe” candidate.

Ducey also did not attend a gubernatorial town hall on gun violence in August.

Garcia debated rivals state Sen. Steve Farley and Kelly Fryer about topics that included border policies and education in July.

A professor at Arizona State University’s education school, Garcia has emphasized increasing funds for public schools and establishing more sustainable energy sources.

Ducey has focused on border security and job creation. He’s touted the new law enforcement collaboration effort called the Border Strike Force and multiple companies who’ve located in Arizona during his first term.

Ducey and Garcia both won their primaries easily: Ducey defeated Bennett with about 70 percent of the vote, while Garcia bested Farley, who had the next highest number of votes, 50 percent to 32 percent.

But the Arizona governor might have a harder time in the general election: A June poll found that only 26 percent of the state’s voters think he deserves to be re-elected. Ducey’s approval rating also fell from 49 percent to 41 percent in July.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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