PHOENIX — Former Treasurer Doug Ducey will be the next governor of Arizona after beating Democratic candidate Fred DuVal in the state’s general election on Tuesday.
“It was a long way to the finish line and I am proud of the race we have won,” Ducey said after being announced the winner.
“I hope he will be a governor for all of Arizona,” DuVal said of Ducey after the loss.
While DuVal’s speech primarily focused on thanking supporters, he couldn’t resist taking a shot at the governor-elect and the so-called “dark money” funneled into Arizona elections by undeclared out-of-state backers. Ducey and DuVal each spent about $2.2 million
in their general election campaign, but Ducey has benefited from $7.9 million in
outside spending compared to about $1 million for DuVal.
“I’d like to congratulate the other big winners tonight but they are unknown, undisclosed, and out-of-state,” he said.
Ducey didn’t address DuVal’s comments, but only said that he wished DuVal and DuVal’s wife the best.
Ducey, a Republican, also beat out grassroots Libertarian candidate Barry Hess, who finished a distant third.
While Ducey and DuVal both agreed the federal government hasn’t done enough or the right thing for Arizona, they differed on how Arizona’s border and education systems should be reformed and the best way to spark employment in the state.
“I intend to be a governor for all and work to create greater opportunities for every single Arizonan,” Ducey said after winning.
Ducey takes office in January and will face a fiscal crisis caused by
lower-than-expected tax revenue and a court order that could put Arizona on the
hook for up to $2.5 billion in new education spending.
“I can tell you this: As governor, I will focus dollars on teachers teaching and students learning and never accept that there are losers in the classroom,” he said during his acceptance speech. “Every child can learn and every child should receive a quality education, and that’s exactly what we are going to do.”
The state faces a
projected deficit of $1.5 billion in the current and next budget years amid
promises from both candidates to cut taxes.
Ducey, 50, helped launch Cold Stone Creamery in Arizona and built it into a popular chain before selling the company in 2007 and getting into politics. He was elected as state treasurer in 2010 and touts his opposition to a permanent sales tax increase voters rejected in 2012.
He beat out former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Go Daddy executive Christine Jones in the August primary.
Ducey’s win came amongst a poor voter turnout in Maricopa County, which County Record Helen Purcell blamed on numerous attack ads.
“The ads have kind of turned people off and I think that’s been a big thing,” she said. “We don’t have, of course, a president’s race in this one so that usually diminishes some of the interest.”
Purcell said the county mailed out about 1.3 million early ballots but received less than 600,000 by Tuesday. If the numbers hold, total ballots will be down 54 percent from 2010 and 76 percent from 2012.
Her office was hoping for a 50 percent voter turnout.
KTAR’s Jim Cross and the Associated Press contributed to this report.