Saturday, June 22, 2024

Latino candidate won Democratic nomination for Governor in Arizona

David Garcia, an Army veteran and education expert, won the Democratic nomination yesterday to challenge Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, giving him a chance to become the state’s first Latino chief executive in more than 40 years.

Garcia’s main competition in his party’s primary was Steve Farley, a state legislator. But operatives in both parties had long expected Garcia to triumph, and Republican groups have already spent millions of dollars attacking him, mostly on the issue of immigration.

Strategists in both parties agree Ducey, the former CEO of Coldstone Creamery, was in a strong position to win a second four-year term until teachers went on strike this spring. Teacher pay in Arizona has been among the lowest in the U.S., and, along with better pay, the educators sought increased classroom funding.

Garcia ― backed by the National Education Association, Latino Victory Fund, VoteVets and a host of other progressive groups ― is expected to try to mobilize Latino turnout in the state. Latino voters, like other minority groups, typically have lower turnout rates during midterm elections.

Garcia’s signature issue will be education; that focus will include stressing his support for two education-related referenda ― one that would hike taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year to fund higher teacher pay, the other that would reverse an expansive school voucher law passed by the state legislature.

If he wins, Garcia will be the first Latino elected statewide in Arizona since Raúl Castro in 1974.