PHOENIX — In another blow to State Senator Steve Farley’s gubernatorial campaign, Arizona’s largest teachers union on Wednesday endorsed his Democratic primary opponent, David Garcia, for the state’s top office.
The endorsement from the Arizona Education Association occurred during an unrelated outdoor demonstrated called “Red For Ed” — the latter word standing for “education” — which was organized by teachers. The effort urged educators to show up wearing the color red and to advocate for public policies affecting their classrooms.
Garcia and the teachers union scheduled a press conference in the area, with most attendees also dressed in red.
“We believe that we have found someone that will step into the role as governor and turn this state around, who will address the teaching crisis head-on, who has ideas of ways to bring in the resources for teachers to be successful and will reverse the trend and end the status quo of mediocrity in our schools,” said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association. “And that person is David Garcia.”
Garcia, wearing a red tie, spoke after Thomas.
“I am not running to be an education governor,” the candidate told the crowd. “When we win, we will elect an educator, a teacher, as governor.”
Garcia and Farley have been locked in a better primary race for the Democratic nomination.
Garcia, a professor at Arizona State University, recently won the endorsement of People for the American Way Action Fund, a liberal political group with ties to a secretive network of top donors to the Democratic Party called the Democracy Alliance. The professor accepted the endorsement on Arizona Statehood Day when he traveled to Washington, D.C.
However, Farley significantly out-fundraised his opponent in the most recent campaign-finance filing period. The state senator raised $513,000 for his gubernatorial run, while Garcia raised less than $300,000 — and reported having already spent more than two-thirds of that amount.
Garcia recently cited a poll characterizing Republican Governor Doug Ducey as politically “vulnerable” during the 2018 midterm elections, but the firm behind the poll was revealed to have long-standing ties to the Democratic Party, raising the question of whether the data was tainted by bias or partisanship.
A version of this article first appeared at The Farley Report.