Diane Douglas voted Arizona superintendent of public instruction

Nov 9, 2014, 11:43 AM | Updated: 11:43 am

PHOENIX — Arizona public education has a new leader after it was announced Nov. 9 that Republican Diane Douglas won the state’s general election after a close race with Democratic candidate David Garcia.

Garcia could not overcome her advantage as late ballots were counted through the week. His campaign did not want to comment Sunday, said the Associated Press.

Douglas, a former Peoria Unified School District board member, defeated Garcia, an associate professor of education at Arizona State University.

The race centered on the controversial Common Core standards in schools, something Douglas promised to repeal and Garcia promised to uphold.

Douglas unabashedly ran on the single issue of abolishing Common Core, losing the backing of the Republican establishment as a result and drawing the ire of business leaders who were worried that such an action would send a bad message about Arizona.

She was unable to secure endorsements from traditional Republican groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry but benefited from a big night for Republicans in Arizona and nationally as anti-Obama administration sentiment swept through the country.

Douglas said the education standards amount to federal government overreach and they need to be stopped immediately. The issue worked in her favor during the primary when she toppled incumbent John Huppenthal, who stumbled through an error-prone campaign.

Douglas said the main issues of the election are who has power over the education of Arizona students and forcing children to conform to a one-size-fits-all set of standards.

“We have standards now that we can’t control, we can’t change and we can’t make sure that they work for Arizona,” said Douglas, who didn’t respond to an interview request. “That is a huge problem for Arizona education.”

Garcia was the polar opposite of Douglas.

“Stopping the Common Core means we take a step backwards,” Garcia said. “We need to continue to move forward; that is what we do in education.”

Garcia said that voters are largely unfamiliar with the Common Core as an issue.

“It’s become kind of a tag line and a source of fear, particularly for my opponent,” he said. “Even other Republicans aren’t out there pushing for stopping the Common Core in the way that she is. I think that the opening is there because most folks don’t understand what it is.”

Garcia is an Army veteran who has a lengthy background in education. He said politicians on the right like Douglas are demonizing standards that simply outline what students need to know at the end of each grade level.

Douglas ran a low-key campaign in which she largely avoided public events in favor of tea-party gatherings and conservative talk radio interviews.

The Associated Press and Cronkite News Service’s Alexa Armstrong contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police investigate Phoenix hit-and-run that left pedestrian dead

Police are investigating a Phoenix hit-and-run after a pedestrian crossing the street was killed on Sunday evening.
1 day ago
Katie Hobbs, the Democratic governor-elect and current secretary of state, signs the official certi...
KTAR.com

Arizona Sec. of State Hobbs requests recount of 3 election races

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs requested on Monday evening a recount of three general election races.
1 day ago
(File Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

Fugitive since 2013 arrested in Mexico, extradited to Arizona

The FBI says a fugitive wanted for his involvement in a criminal drug enterprise has been extradited from Mexico and returned to Tucson.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Morgan Wallen)...
KTAR.com

Country artist Morgan Wallen to perform next year at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix

Country artist Morgan Wallen announced last week an upcoming stop in the Valley for his 2023 world tour.
1 day ago
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Ron Wolfley expects Patriots to corner Kyler Murray, run the ball against Cardinals

Cardinals radio personality and Arizona Sports host Ron Wolfley has ideas on how the Patriots will play the Cardinals next Monday.
1 day ago
Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, left, signs the official Arizona general elect...
Kevin Stone

Arizona certifies 2022 election, setting stage for lawsuits, recounts

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs certified the state's 2022 general election Monday, but it doesn’t close the books on the midterms.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Diane Douglas voted Arizona superintendent of public instruction