PHOENIX — David Garcia’s gubernatorial campaign was slammed on the radio Wednesday for its role in politicizing a grassroots effort focused on teachers.
Garcia, a Democrat, won an endorsement from the Arizona Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, this week over his primary opponent, State Senator Steve Farley. However, Garcia’s campaign and the union were criticized for announcing the endorsement at a press conference in the middle an unrelated demonstration that had been spontaneously organized by teachers.
The grassroots event — called “Red For Ed,” meaning “education” — was intended to give educators a platform to discuss public policies affecting their classrooms.
During a call-in appearance afterward on KTAR (92.3 FM), radio hosts Mac & Gaydos told Garcia that they thought “making it political” by injecting his campaign distracted from educators who were trying to share their message.
“Did you feel like you were, you know, you being endorsed by the teachers union trampled on ‘Red For Ed’ Day?” the host asked. “‘Cause I think it did.”
Garcia responded that this was “the very first time I’ve heard this (criticism) all day,” adding that “today is not about my campaign.”
The radio hosts quickly cut in.
“But if it’s not about your campaign, why do it today on ‘Red For Ed’ Day?” they responded. “It is about your campaign, I think.”
Garcia tried to reiterate that the event wasn’t about his campaign but ended up coming full-circle.
“I am proud that the AZEA (Arizona Education Association) has endorsed my campaign,” the candidate concluded.