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David Garcia after announcing his candidacy for the governorship of Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore
David Garcia after announcing his candidacy for the governorship of Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore

A Latino governor in Arizona?

David Garcia won the Democratic nomination to compete for the governorship of Arizona against current Governor Doug Ducey. If he wins, he could become the…

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The last time a Latino was governor of Arizona was in 1974.

Yes, 1974.

Now, 44 years later and under a strongly anti-Latino, conservative administration, David Garcia - veteran and education expert - has emerged as the Democratic favorite for the November election contest for the state's governorship.

In the midst of a deep educational crisis, voters in the state must choose between their current governor, Doug Ducey - who has faced sharp protests from educators as they are paid some of the lowest salaries in the country - and a Latino candidate supported by the progressive machinery and with a grassroots campaign.

Following the structure of successful campaigns at the national level, such as that of Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz in New York or Andrew Gillum in Florida, García adopted a more "leftist" stance, supporting the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the establishment of Medicare for all, according to the Huffington Post.

"Arizona made a choice," the candidate said during his victory speech at a bar in Phoenix. "They said we are ready for vision over division. We want hope over fear. We want trust over dishonesty and, as of today, the Trump/Arpaio/Ducey playbook is coming to an end."

However, his war is not won, and he will have to face a difficult Republican candidate in November.

As the Arizona Capitol Times explained, "Garcia's path to victory already appears arduous. Ducey, with his massive war chest and financial support from the Republican Governors Association, will blanket the airwaves with advertisements touting the governor’s re-election bid," which has "$9.2 million in ad time to prevent a Democrat from winning the governorship."

Ducey has focused his campaign on the commitment to border security and the creation of jobs, promoting even a new program called the Border Strike Force, explained the Associated Press.

However, Garcia took advantage of the widespread discontent in the educational community, the progressive wave in the country, and his Hispanic profile to position himself as the "ideal" Democratic candidate.

"Garcia believes that his extensive background in education policy best prepares him for the job," Teen Vogue reported. "He previously served as Associate Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Education and as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate (...) His platform supports increasing taxes for the 1% who he says pay less than low and middle-class families, in order to restore education funding. He even campaigned in a converted school bus."

Garcia joins the Democratic, progressive candidates who reject the support of political action committees and who have adopted the "Sanders formula" to win candidacies that promise a radical blue wave in November.

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