MEMO: Governor Doug Ducey is Desperate Going Into General Election
In some elections, in order to see the whole picture, all you need to do is look at the numbers, and the story they tell about Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey re-election chances is not a pretty one.
- 59 percent of registered voters in Arizona believe someone other than Governor Ducey should be governor
- A 31 percent approval rating for Governor Ducey, twelve points lower than President Trump
- 26 percent of voters think Governor Ducey deserves re-election
- $2.2 million in ad spending so far by the RGA and Ducey
- $9.2 million in ad reservations already, “and it’s only August.”
It is clear as day that Governor Ducey is hanging on to his political career by a thread, and he knows it.
Red for Ed
The “Red for Ed” movement this spring in Arizona was a nonpartisan uprising over the damaging consequences of Governor Ducey’s failure to pay teachers a living wage and adequately fund Arizona’s public education system. It looked even worse after reports came out that the governor had given his staff “hefty pay raises” as the state ranked “worst in the nation” for teacher pay.
Still, the governor did all he could to ignore the huge crowds advocating for more funding for education, and tried mightily to change the subject to anything else.
After days of protests and a strike by teachers, Ducey failed at diffusing their anger when he offered a plan one columnist called “100 percent bull.” This forced the RGA to come in to bail out the governor in April with a six-figure ad campaign that was meant to boost the governor’s sagging poll numbers.
Unfortunately for the governor, teachers had already realized their electoral power, and have promised to make him pay at the ballot box in November. This isn’t the kind of report card Doug Ducey was hoping to get during his re-election campaign.
The proposal would have ended Medicaid expansion in Arizona, and would have ripped healthcare away from 511,000 Arizonans, making it more expensive for seniors, people with disabilities, and those with pre-existing conditions.
Despite the threats to Arizonans’ healthcare, Ducey “gave his blessing” to Senators McCain and Jeff Flake to support the disastrous repeal. Were it not for Senator John McCain joining Senate Democrats and Republican colleagues to vote against the repeal bill, Arizonans would be facing a much more dire situation.
Ripping healthcare away from families and covering fewer Arizonans is a surefire way to lose voters.
Governor Ducey recently began using the same dance moves we’ve seen other Republican candidates use across the country when it comes to Donald Trump.
When asked last week if he would seek the President’s endorsement, he refused to answer. This comes after he skipped a Trump rally in August 2017, and declined to say if he wanted the President’s help in his re-election bid in November 2017. Yet, when Vice President Mike Pence offered a donation, he gladly accepted it and all the Trump administration policies he supports.
What’s odd about his sidestepping is that he has no problem appearing with fringe elements of the Republican Party, so why is he afraid of Donald Trump? Especially considering Donald Trump is so willing to throw his “full and complete Endorsement” behind Ducey.
In trying to have it both ways, Governor Ducey will both turn off his base and turn off persuadable swing voters who already don’t believe he deserves re-election. This is not a winning strategy.
Democrats have been voting in droves. They have “already have surpassed their total 2016 turnout in some precincts and the primary hasn’t even happened.”
If there is any doubt about Democratic enthusiasm just take a look at the special election in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District. In a district Ducey won by 27 points in 2014, the Republican candidate struggled across the line to win by 5 points. Even a GOP operative said of the special election, “This was not supposed to be this close. We really can’t blame anything. We got killed among independents. It shouldn’t have been this close.” It is a foreboding sign for Ducey’s chances in the fall.
Crisis after crisis and a long list of Ducey policy failures since May is only bound to blow wind in Democratic sails.
President Trump’s divisive rhetoric and harmful policies like removing protections for pre-existing conditions and cutting funding to education are certainly part of the reason Democrats are fired up to vote. But the credit really belongs to Governor Ducey, who through his mishandling of education funding has made Arizona a very real pickup opportunity for Democrats in the fall.
Don’t take our word for it, just look at the numbers.