Originally Published: May 30, 2018 5:50 a.m.
PHOENIX — Two Democrats looking to unseat Republican Gov. Doug Ducey are officially going to battle it out in a primary.
David Garcia and State Sen. Steve Farley on Tuesday filed signatures to run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Both candidates have cast themselves as proud supporters of public education, which is likely to be a key issue in the gubernatorial race. This year saw the emergence of the #RedforEd movement, where teachers went on a six-day, statewide strike to demand more funding during the budget process.
Though the $10.4 billion budget included Ducey’s plan to give teachers a 20 percent raise and start to restore recession-era funding cuts, many Statehouse Democrats and striking teachers say that plan didn’t go far enough.
Farley, who lives in Tucson, was elected to the state Legislature in 2006. With more than 8,700 signatures filed, Farley said his campaign is seeing support from voters across ideologies who are ready for a leadership change.
“We have an opportunity to actually return to the idea that good policy can help make our lives better, and that really isn’t an ideological thing,” he said.
Garcia is a fourth-generation Arizonan who served in the U.S. Army and had a career in public education. He pulled up to the Statehouse Tuesday in a branded bus with a team of supporters to drop off close to 10,000 signatures.
“The reality is, we have got a lot of excitement from people who have been in this fight for a long time and they’ve made it clear who their choice is,” Garcia said.
Both candidates knocked Ducey, who filed his signatures earlier this spring, for his established Republican ties. Already the Republican Governors Association has run ads touting Ducey as an advocate for schools.
J.P. Twist, Ducey’s political adviser, said voters have a choice between Ducey’s “strong stewardship of the budget and economy and historic investments in education versus the extreme, outside-the-mainstream ideology” from the Democrats.
Republican and former Secretary of State Ken Bennett has been collecting signatures, according to his website. Another Democrat who runs the YWCA Southern Arizona, Kelly Fryer, has also said she’s running.
Libertarian candidate Kevin McCormick has also filed signatures, and will be using the public financing program run by the state’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
The deadline to file for candidacy is 5 p.m. on May 30.
Arizona’s primary is Aug. 28.