Republican Doug Ducey wins re-election bid for Arizona governor

Nov 6, 2018, 8:54 PM | Updated: 11:58 pm
(AP Photo/Matt York)...
(AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Republican Doug Ducey will remain as Arizona’s governor for a second term, ensuring the state stays under Republican control for the next four years.

Ducey beat out his Democratic opponent David Garcia with about 60 percent of the vote during Tuesday’s election.

“Arizonans have voted, and they have spoken,” Ducey said during his election night speech.

“I am incredibly humbled by the confidence Arizonans have placed in me and honored to continue working on their behalf,” she added.

“With the campaign over, it’s time to come together—as we’ve done these last four years—with a renewed focus on moving forward as one Arizona.”

The Arizona Republican has ran a campaign focused on border security, a booming state economy and the need to remain focused on making the state’s business climate better to boost job growth.

He has not particularly highlighted education, an area where he is seen as vulnerable, especially after a strike that saw 75,000 teachers marching on the Capitol this spring and more than 1 million schoolchildren out of class because their schools were closed.

Garcia, an Arizona State University professor, focused on the state’s underfunded schools while attacking Ducey for what he says is his failure to prioritize school funding.

He took a different tactic than Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, the U.S. Senate candidate who ran as a progressive, coming out against Trump’s plans for a border wall and calling for more humane treatment of immigrants, especially children.

The Democrat said he would like to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement transformed into a new agency that protects borders while respecting human rights.

Ducey and his party also far outpaced Garcia in fundraising and spending leading up to the gubernatorial election.

Millions of dollars in ads by the Republican Governors Association aimed to demonstrate that Garcia is weak on border security, asserting that he wants to “abolish ICE,” the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a claim the Democrat vigorously denied.

And that money did not count the other $5.6 million the candidate raised for his Ducey for Governor Fund, or the $8.2 million he collected in his Ducey Victory Fund Committee, spending about $10 million from those two pots, according to Arizona Secretary of State records.

Garcia, on the other hand, refused to accept lobbyist or corporate contributions and had raised less than $2 million for his campaign, mostly in small individual contributions, by mid-October in his bid to become the state’s second Latino governor.

Ducey beat out former Arizona secretary of state Ken Bennett in the August primary election, taking home nearly 70 percent of the votes from Republican voters, while Garcia won his primary with 48 percent of the vote.

Ducey also got a helping hand from President Donald Trump, both in his primary and general election. He appeared at a Mesa rally in October as the president stumped for Senate candidate Martha McSally and other Republicans.

Ducey, who was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, moved to Arizona to attend college and stayed. He was a businessman who oversaw the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream parlor chain before serving a term as state treasurer. He was elected governor in 2014.

He boasted that as governor he was able to take a $1 billion deficit and balance the budget without raising taxes, and simplified the state tax code, cutting regulations to stimulate jobs. He also has stressed an emphasis on security along Arizona’s southern border.

The border and illegal immigration are major issues in Arizona, which is home to a large Latino population and has some of the toughest laws in the nation targeting migrants in the U.S. without permission.

Garcia came out against Trump’s plans for a border wall and called for more humane treatment of immigrants, especially children. The Democrat said he would like to see Immigration and Customs Enforcement transformed into a new agency that protects borders while respecting human rights.

He said the ads took his words out of context, leading to “fear mongering intended to divide communities.”

Ducey told Garcia during the first of two debates: “I think that the ads that have been out on you are public service announcements.”

The other main issue during the campaign was education, coming in the wake of an unprecedented statewide teacher that strike shut down public schools for nearly a week earlier this year as instructors demanded increased funding.

The teachers returned to class after Ducey signed a plan for a 20 percent pay raise. It was less than what was demanded by the teachers, who had wanted more money for schools and other staff members.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Republican Doug Ducey wins re-election bid for Arizona governor