Candidate David Garcia plans to win the race for Arizona Governor by harnessing disaffected voters, and recruiting a generation of Latinos to become new voters who will support Democrats for years to come.
“To change Arizona and win in 2018 we need to focus on new voters,” Garcia told the Democrats of Greater Tucson yesterday in a rousing presentation. “We have a surge of Democratic energy. It’s incredible. We need to take this unique opportunity to get a group of reliable voters that we have not been able to bring out.”
He cited California as an example of a once-Republican state that is now solidly Democratic. The state’s Latino population boomed in the 1990s and they rejected the Republican hard-line stance on immigration. The state’s immigrant population has elected Democratic candidates decisively in every election since 1992.
Minority voters were a major factor in electing a Democrat to Governor in Virginia this month.
The Latino vote
“Latino voters vote for Democrats 70% of the time,” he said. “They are not engaged and we need to get them on board. The numbers are there to win.”
Repeating a quote from his Democratic rival Steve Farley, Garcia said, “Every time Trump tweets, a new Democratic activist is born.”
He cited three ways that he can take the Governor’s office away from Doug Ducey:
- Bold policy. He will offer voters solutions that make a difference in people’s lives so that they can see the benefit to them and their families. (See below.)
- Face to face contact. “They need to see somebody like themselves” in door-to-door canvassing. Garcia says he has 1,100 volunteers in his campaign.
- Be a candidate who cuts through negative TV ads. “When disengaged voters compare candidates, they don’t see the contrast. Late in the 2016 election, 40% of people didn’t know the difference between Clinton and Trump. We need as much contrast a possible. We need someone who is the exact opposite of Doug Ducey.”
“Barack Obama connected with people. Whether we like it or not, so did Donald Trump,” he said. Will Latinos vote for Garcia because he’s a Latino? “It doesn’t hurt,” he said. “It will matter to have a Latino at the top of the ticket.”
Garcia, 47, is a professor who teaches statistics and finance at Arizona State University. He is a 4th-generation Arizonan, living in Mesa. He is a graduate of ASU, and earned a master’s and a doctorate in education policy from the University of Chicago. An Army veteran, he carried an M-16 as an infantryman.
After the election, he predicted “we’ll have someone who served his country, and not someone who served ice cream,” he said, referring to when Gov. Ducey was CEO of an ice cream company.
He is the former Associate Superintendent of Public Instruction. Garcia was the Democratic candidate for Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 2014 and lost to by ½ of a percentage point to tea party republican Diane Douglas.
Garcia is competing with State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson to be the Democratic nominee for Governor.
He staked out his positions on key issues:
Immigration. “Arizona built on the back of immigrant labor,” he said. “I’m not going to turn my back on them. We’ll make sure that immigrants live here legally and lawfully and make sure we stop splitting up families through deportation.”
Climate change: “This is the issue that keeps me up at night. We’re not talking about it nearly enough. I want an environment so that my daughters enjoy hiking and fishing.” He proposed a “very aggressive solar policy” and promised to battle Arizona Public Service electric company with a voter initiative that will promote solar power in Arizona. “We know APS will be against it. We want APS to be fighting a candidate, and an initiative, and a groundswell of support.”
Gun control: “I’m a former infantryman. I know what an M-15 and AK 47 are supposed to do. It’s not to hunt or protect your home. It’s to kill a lot of people.” While doubting if a law will prevent mass murderers from getting guns, he said, “It’s our job to make it as hard as possible for that person who wants to settle a vendetta to get a gun into their hands. Assault weapons don’t have a place in society.”
Education: “We are going to walk in the door and pay teachers,” Garcia said. “We’re going to do that right away. The budget will look fundamentally different,” he said, promising to close corporate tax loopholes and private school tax credits. “I stand completely against school vouchers, with the exception of special education students,” he said.
Making Arizona a good place to grow up: “Arizona is on the bottom of the list for the worst states in the country to be a kid,” he said. “A good childhood is the most important thing we have in the world because it’s filled with learning. You are only 7 years old once,” he said.
Upcoming: Garcia will speak on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 6 pm at the LD 10 meeting at Democratic headquarters at 4639 E. 1st Street. He will also appear on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 6 pm at the AEA candidate forum at Pueblo High School at 3500 S. 12th Avenue.