PHOENIX — On February 14, Arizona blew out candles for its 106th birthday. David Garcia, meanwhile, blew town.
Garcia published a tweet Wednesday addressing Arizona Statehood Day but failed to mention that he had already flown the coop for greener pastures. Instead, the embattled Democratic candidate for governor quietly headed to Washington, D.C., to audition for a progressive group looking to sway the midterm elections in 2018.
That group, People for the American Way Action Fund, is the political arm of the like-named nonprofit. People for the American Way has ties to the Democracy Alliance — a secretive network of wealthy Democratic donors — through its founder, Hollywood producer Norman Lear. The group actively defended President Bill Clinton during his scandals of the 1990s, including by launching a $1 million ad campaign aimed at pressuring Congress to not initiate impeachment hearings.
The group’s event this week with Garcia was promoted through a little-noticed media advisory on the National Press Club’s website. While there, Garcia argued on-stage that he’ll siphon support from Trump voters in November. His attempts to appeal to Trump supporters are expected hit a few roadblocks, though. Garcia condemned the president’s “foolish border wall” in June and recently participated in a march opposing the administration’s infrastructure plan.
In reality, President Donald Trump’s first year in office has proven to be an engagement boost, but so far that boost is for the Arizona Republican Party. Voter registration numbers released by the Secretary Of State’s office found that the percentage of Republican voters in Arizona has actually increased, and the percentage of Democratic voters has fallen, since Election Day 2016.
This movement expanded an existing gap in voter registration that already favored Republicans.
Garcia, for his part, is in the midst of a bitter Democratic primary against State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson, who has criticized the associate professor as an out-of-touch academic. Farley significantly out-fundraised Garcia in the most recent campaign filing period.