David Garcia (Arizona)

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David Garcia

David Garcia is a candidate for the Governorship of Arizona. He served as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate and leading the Arizona Department of Education as Associate Superintendent.


After graduating from the Honors College at Arizona State University, Garcia received a master’s and doctorate from the University of Chicago and has become a nationally-recognized expert in education research and policy.

Garcia serving as a research analyst for the Arizona State Senate and leading the Arizona Department of Education as Associate Superintendent.

In 2014, the Arizona Republic called David a “Champion for Education.” Now, he is a professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University where he teaches research and policy to Arizona’s next generation of leaders.

Close race

The closest Democrats got to winning a statewide race after 2008 was in 2014, when David Garcia fell 16,000 votes short of defeating Republican candidate Diane Douglas in the race for state superintendent of public instruction.

Of course, presidential contests operate under vastly different dynamics than local contests. But the superintendent’s race was supposed to be winnable for Democrats.

Against a polarizing figure who vowed to abolish the Common Core education standards, Garcia emerged as the establishment’s consensus candidate. Two former superintendents, both Republicans, endorsed him. So did the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which rarely backs a Democrat in a statewide race.[1]

Arizona Students Association

Arizona Students Association, February 21, 2016;


With E-ka Toussaint, Cesar Aguilar, Jessica Mendoza, Barbara Sofia, Shayna Stevens, Nic Parra, Lex Allen, David Garcia, Kristy Ann Silva, Michael Martinez and Patrick Morales.

Arizona Students' Association, December 15, 2017 ·

The highlight of yesterday... Dr. David Garcia! ASA met with Dr. Garcia to discuss how we make higher education more affordable and accessible for all. We discussed education policy that is being drafted for 2018-2020.
We also discussed Dr. Garcia’s plan to make community colleges in Arizona free! A plan we at ASA, believe can work.
ASA has worked with Dr. Garcia in different capacities over the years as he is a nationally recognized expert in education research & policy, an ASU professor and now a candidate for Governor of Arizona.
We’re looking forward to working with Dr. Garcia in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, amazing things are around the corner.
  1. FreeHigherEd #ASA #ASU — with Kieran Elia, David Garcia, Cesar Aguilar and Shayna Stevens.

Superintendent run


Radical volunteer

Belen Sisa was David Garcia for AZ Superintendent of Public Instruction, Volunteer. Feb 2014 – Nov 2014.

Radical supporter

Shayna Stevens, April 12, 2017.


I proudly support David Garcia for Governor. We share one very important thing in common: Our belief that public education is the great equalizer. — with David Garcia at Arizona State Capitol Buildings.

Bazta Arpaio


In 2016 David Garcia supported Bazta Arpaio.

Governor's race

Arizona’s governorship is a tantalizing pick-up possibility for Democrats. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only 4 points, and the incumbent governor, Dave Ducey, is polling badly, largely because of the GOP’s deep cuts to the state’s education budget. Arizona now spends about $4,200 less per pupil than the national average, and at press time, there were rumblings of a statewide teachers’ strike. Education Week recently gave Arizona schools an overall grade of D+, ranking it sixth-worst in the nation.

Ducey’s fundraising advantage is huge. In January, he had about $2.8 million on hand, versus about $100,000 for David Garcia. Ducey’s PAC contributors, according to the Arizona Capitol Times, “read like a Who’s Who of the state’s business interests.”

Garcia, 48, wants to make Arizona a “solar superpower” and fight the Trump administration’s deportations, but the issue of education—Ducey’s vulnerability—is his sweet spot. Garcia is an associate professor of education at Arizona State University, and he calls for big investments in early childhood education and for free community college. His extensive plan for public schools would “raise teacher pay, shrink class sizes, support all students and move from privatization schemes to trustworthy school options where choice doesn’t come at the expense of fraud, greed and a lack of transparency.”

La Raza connection


Campaign manager

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the Latino population of Arizona began to take off.

Ironically, it was a steep reduction in illegal migration into California and Texas that spurred the move into Arizona. “You had Operation Gatekeeper and Operation Hold the Line, which were fortifications of urban cross-points in El Paso and San Diego, respectively, which is where everybody crossed without permission,” recalls Ian Danley, a longtime Arizona political operative currently managing the gubernatorial campaign of David Garcia, the Mexican-American Democrat running to replace Ducey. “They believed that if you sealed off the urban crossing points, the natural terrain of Arizona would be its own natural barrier,” Danley says. “And it wasn’t. The economy was too strong.”[2]

Bill Scheel, also served in the role for a time.[3]

Striking teachers

Fern Zelmanovics Ward, July 5, 2018.


Arizona Legislative District 27 Democratic Committee is in the house! 270,000 signatures and lots of new friends later, #InvestInEd is on the ballot! (Theoretically). Thank you everyone who made it happen! — with Reginald Bolding, Ronda Olson, David Garcia and Donna Perea.

Supreme Court protest

Belen Sisa April 2, 2018.


With Edder Diaz Martinez, Oscar Hernandez Ortiz, Vasthy Lamadrid, Erika Andiola, Perla Martinez, Alex Baker, Cormac Doebbeling, Jocelyn Gallardo, Isela Blanc, David Garcia, Jake Bell for Arizona, Korina Iribe-Romo, Isa ONeal, Karina Ruiz and Garrick McFadden at Arizona Supreme Court.

Portland/Garcia connection

Eddy Morales October 11, 2017 ·


Going home for three hours. What a great trip to Phoenix! Got to spend time with some of the best organizers, friends, and family. Excited about the possibilities! This is David Garcia and he is running for Governor of Arizona! — traveling to PDX with Lew Granofsky, Brendan Walsh, Caitlin Elly Breedlove, Tomas E. Robles, Jr., Marisa Franco, Marco Garcia, Judy Davila, John Loredo, Ian Danley, Roy Herrera and Sarah Michelsen from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Meet David Garcia: Portland

Join us in welcoming David Garcia, Democratic Candidate for Arizona Governor in 2018.


Nov 03 2017, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. Philanthropy Center, Northwest Health Foundation 221 NW 2nd Ave #300, Portland OR.[4]


Eddy Morales connection

Ernesto Fonseca January 13 2019·


Celebrating with Eddy Morales who was sworn in on January 8th as one of the new City of Gresham Councilors. In addition he has supported a lot of our AZ Dems to get elected. Kyrsten Sinema Patrick Morales Arizona Democratic Party David Garcia — with Eddy Morales.

Abolish ICE

Democrats appear to have handed Republicans a major opportunity with their recent calls to “abolish” Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the division of the Homeland Security Department charged with enforcing immigration laws at home. Many Democrats in Congress have backed the call, and in early July, Garcia threw his weight behind the campaign as well.

“The ICE issue is the greatest political gift that could have been given to the Arizona Republican Party,” Rose says. Governor Ducey sure seemed to think so: Barely a day had passed since Garcia’s call before he had published an op-ed in USA Today charging that “Calls to abolish ICE are wrong and reckless.”[5]


Garcia is endorsed by People's Action, Working Families Party.[6]

PowerPAC.org election strategy


PowerPAC.org is committed to supporting the civic engagement of voters of color and the election of progressive leaders of color. Much of our strategy is outlined in the book “Brown Is The New White,” written by our founder Steve Phillips. Our work involves researching where votes of color can make a difference in races, how demographic trends can affect change in public policy and leadership, and how civic engagement methodologies can change how campaigns are run.

Our work has spanned the nationwide (support for Barack Obama and civic engagement in 18 states in the 2007-2008 cycle) to the small (unseating 18-year conservative incumbents in city races in San Bernardino, CA). Most recently we worked with grassroots activists in Georgia to encourage African American voters to turn out in the CD-6 race in Georgia and to build support for Stacey Abrams’ race for Governor there. As we move forward, we will deepen our work in California as well as launching a multi-state initiative to support gubernatorial candidates of color in GA (Stacey Abrams), MD (Benjamin Jealous), AZ (David Garcia), CA (John Chiang), and FL (Andrew Gillum).

Additionally, we are in the process of building a fundraising engine to drive donations by average citizens in low dollar amounts. We think that there is power in crowd-sourcing the support of our communities of color. The voice of the growing economic power of the communities of color must be heard and their power felt.[7]

Aimee Allison interview


Democracy for America endorsement

Democracy for America has 68,405 members in the state of Michigan and more than one million members nationwide.

As a part of its work in the 2018 election cycle, Democracy for America intends to raise and spend more than $12 million in support of progressive candidates, make more than 2 million voter contacts, and support more than 250 candidates nationwide -- like Abdul El-Sayed -- in running inclusive populist campaigns committed to turning out the New American Majority of people of color and progressive white voters in November.
El-Sayed is the sixth gubernatorial endorsement DFA has made in the 2018 election cycle. Other gubernatorial endorsements the national grassroots progressive group has made this cycle includes Stacey Abrams in Georgia, David Garcia in Arizona, Andrew Gillum in Florida, Ben Jealous in Maryland, and Paulette Jordan in Idaho.[8]

Steyer/Phillips support

David Garcia, a Democratic candidate for governor, held a fundraiser late June 2018 at the San Francisco home of Tom Steyer, the California billionaire who is spending part of his fortune to influence Arizona’s elections.


Garcia’s campaign would not say how much money was raised at the fundraiser at Steyer’s home, nor how many people were at the Monday night event.

Steyer, a former hedge fund manager turned philanthropist and political activist, is funding a ballot initiative that would mandate Arizona utilities use more renewable energy, and has opened an Arizona branch of his national political organization aimed at the youth vote.

A spokesperson for the Garcia campaign, Sarah Elliot, said the fundraiser follows a trend of left-leaning voters nationally taking an interest in Arizona politics.

“Arizona is becoming, as you know, increasingly important on the national stage,” she said. “A lot of national progressives are starting to take an interest in David Garcia.”

Elliot said she expects Garcia, if he makes the general election, would face a barrage of out-of-state money supporting Gov. Doug Ducey.

“The state is well-known for dark money coming in,” she said, using the term for anonymous donations to independent political groups. “I expect it to be even more than in 2014.”

Both Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, contributed $5,100, the maximum possible under state law, to Garcia's campaign on March 30.

Garcia has trailed both Ducey and one of his Democratic primary opponents, state Sen. Steve Farley, in fundraising.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports filed in April, Garcia has raised $543,702 during his campaign; Farley reported raising $778,393. The third Democratic challenger, Kelly Fryer, who entered the race in January, months after her opponents, has raised $109.357.

Ducey has reported raising more than $3.3 million for his re-election campaign.

Ducey, speaking at a brief news conference on Wednesday, said that voters could judge Steyer’s views for themselves.

“I think we’ve seen what Tom Steyer has had to say,” Ducey told reporters. “We’ve seen the commercials he's running. We’ve seen the initiatives he’s been behind. You guys can do the rest.”

Steyer also has started an Arizona chapter of NextGen America, an environmentally focused political advocacy group that aims to engage the youth vote in the state. It opened a Phoenix office in June.

Garcia appeared at the Monday fundraiser at Steyer’s home alongside Steve Phillips, founder of the political action group, Democracy in Color.

Phillips, in a column published by The Nation last week, touted Garcia’s candidacy saying that his presence on the ballot would energize Latino voters.

“Electing David Garcia — a person who comes from the very community Trump demonizes and who is unapologetically committed to building an inclusive, multiracial democracy — will represent a resounding rejection of the nativist, nationalist, and racist impulses lifted up by this president,” Phillips wrote.

Garcia appeared on a Democracy in Color podcast taped in Phoenix. In the episode, posted last week, Garcia said it was important for a Latino to become the state’s chief executive.

Garcia said, on the podcast, that when he ran for Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014, political advisors told him that his last name would prove a barrier to winning a statewide election.

“I believe a Garcia needs to win in Arizona,” he said on the podcast. “For this state to really reach its promise, for this state to be fully represented by the people of Arizona, somebody with my last name needs to win.”[9]

Huerta connection




David Garcia with Ian Danley, Montserrat Arredondo Duran.

Abboud connection


Support from Onward Together

Onward Together supported David Garcia as a candidate for the 2018 midterm elections.[10]

Going left

Stacey Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Benjamin Jealous and others appear to be part of a trend among minority candidates who have defeated moderate Democrats by campaigning on liberal policy priorities.

Key to that strategy is mobilizing people who don’t vote regularly, mostly people of color and progressive white voters. “You do that by organizing,” Jealous said. “We will build an army of organizers across our state to turn out voters by talking to them.”

Part of that strategy is recognizing the that there is often a gap between eligible Democratic voters and the margin of victory, said Steve Phillips, author of "Brown is the New White: How the Demographic Revolution Has Created a New American Majority".

In Maryland, he said, only 800,000 Democratic voters turned out for Hogan’s 2014 election, compared to about 1.1 million who turned out to elect former Governor Martin O’Malley.

Those voters, Phillips and others have argued, could be swayed to turn out with a progressive agenda of economic and social justice.

Jealous said that as the former president of the NAACP, he knows how to bring out voters.

Like Ocasio-Cortez, he campaigned on Medicare for all, as well as free tuition at public colleges and universities in Maryland, police reform and legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

Other Democratic candidates using this strategy include David Garcia, who is running for governor in Arizona, Chardo Richardson running in Florida’s 7th Congressional District and Cori Bush, running in Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.

While candidates of color have embraced this strategy the most, Phillips said that white candidates “can and should” use it as well, citing New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as examples of those who are.

“Unfortunately much of the Democratic white establishment does not believe in this strategy,” Phillips said. “They still harbor this notion that you can win back Trump voters without the empirical evidence.”[11]