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Special Election Results In AZ-08 Spell Trouble for Ducey

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Democratic Enthusiasm Latest Piece of Bad News for Flailing Governor

Today, the DGA released the following statement on the results of tonight’s closer-than-expected special election in Arizona’s eighth Congressional District and what it means for Doug Ducey’s flailing reelection chances:
“No one should be more worried by tonight’s results than Doug Ducey,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director David Turner. “Arizonans are fed up with Ducey and Arizona Republicans’ failures on education and the economy, and they are making their voices heard in record numbers. A scandal plagued administration, record of failure, self-made education crisis, and a looming primary fight is bad news for Ducey’s electoral prospects. The Democratic enthusiasm on display tonight means he’s more vulnerable than ever.”
Ducey won the district by 27 points 2014.
It’s hard to have a worse year than Governor Ducey has had, and he’s never been more vulnerable than right now:

  • Education Crisis: Ducey’s administration is responsible for cutting billions from the state’s education system. The cuts have placed immense pressure on the state’s teachers, who are among the lowest paid in the entire nation. The grassroots #RedforEd movement has exposed Ducey’s unwillingness to support schools in a meaningful way. Just last week, Ducey compounded the problem by proposing an unserious and unsustainable plan that has been widely panned by education groups.
  • Primary Challenge: Sensing Ducey’s vulnerability, former Sec. of State Ken Bennett announced a primary challenge against the governor. In his announcement, Bennett cited Ducey’s economically flawed education plan and a growing sense among Republicans that Ducey is not the right man for the job.
  • RGA Propping Ducey Up: Amidst the bad news last week, the Republican Governors Associationrushed to Ducey’s aid with a statewide ad buy to revamp the embattled governor’s image. It’s the first time this year the organization has had to spend significantly to protect a vulnerable incumbent. It has yet to be seen if their vanity campaign will do any good.
  • Sagging in the Polls: A poll out last month shows that Ducey is underwater by double-digits with Arizona voters. 52% of voters disapprove of the job the governor is doing. The poll also showed him up low single digits against his potential Democratic challengers before the campaign even started. That was before the education debacle broke into the national spotlight, so it is safe to assume Ducey’s electoral prospects have only worsened since.
  • Staffer Pay Scandal: As Ducey proposed meager increases to education funding this year, he was caughtjacking up the pay for his political staffers and executive office appointments. The average Ducey staffer received an 11% salary bump since he took office, and 44 of them received up to 20% raises in that time. Both numbers are well above that average increase for a state worker. He faced widespread criticism for the move and it will almost certainly come back to bite him during the campaign later this year.