David Garcia failed to disclose pollster’s partisan history

PHOENIX — Democratic gubernatorial candidate David Garcia cited a poll this week alleging that Governor Doug Ducey is politically “vulnerable” but failed to disclose the pollster’s bias and deep ties to the Democratic Party.

ProgressNow Arizona, the Grand Canyon State arm of national liberal group ProgressNow, released a telephone poll this week claiming that the Republican governor is “vulnerable” and adding that “this election has the potential to be a pickup opportunity for Democrats.”

Much like People for the American Way, a liberal group opposing Governor Ducey’s re-election, ProgressNow has ties to the Democracy Alliance, a secretive network of wealthy Democratic donors. It has led and promoted anti-Republican protests.

Garcia, who is in the middle of a contested Democratic primary against State Senator Steve Farley of Tucson, pounced on the claims.

“New polling shows Ducey is vulnerable,” he tweeted, urging social media users to join his campaign.

What Garcia failed to disclose is that the polling firm, Lake Research Partners, is funded by a host of clients that includes Democratic Party-aligned candidates, officials, and groups. The firm’s client list includes former President Bill Clinton and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is facing pressure from her own caucus to step down from the leadership role.

Another controversial group included on Lake Research Partners’ client list is ACORN, which faced nationwide backlash in 2010 and subsequently filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Employees at Lake Research Partners have contributed more than $60,000 to Democratic candidates and causes at the federal level alone, including Joshua Ulibarri, a Phoenix-based partner at the firm. Ulibarri has contributed to Democrats like U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego and Kyrsten Sinema and former state attorney general candidate Felecia Rotellini, who now serves as chair of the Arizona Democratic Party.

In September 2014, Lake Research Partners released a similar poll claiming that then-State Senator Michele Reagan was losing her race for secretary of state by 16 percent. Secretary Reagan, as she is now known, ended up winning that race by 4.4 percent, a 20-plus percent swing from the polling results.