East Valley Republic legislative candidates who are in primary fights shouldn’t expect any help from Gov. Doug Ducey.
“I stay out of them. They are for the people to decide,” said Ducey in a brief interview Aug. 9 after addressing the Chandler Chamber of Commerce and spending nearly an hour going around a room and exchanging pleasantries with about 100 businesspeople and politicians.
Ducey said in the interview he was in Chandler “getting out and promoting the state and talking about economic development – which, of course, is part of the day job,” though he added, “I imagine everything between now and the election will be considered a campaign stop.”
But an upbeat message to the supportive crowd, he indicated he wouldn’t mind their votes.
“I want you to know that I know that I worked for you and I’m asking for your help and support going forward and keep this agenda and a secure Arizona’s future,” he said, later adding:
“Thanks for having me and please communicate with your friends and neighbors about the importance of this upcoming election cycle. We’re 89 days away.”
Ducey himself faces an opponent in the primary, former Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett – whom he has dismissed as a “fringe candidate.”
Numerous people snapped photos of Ducey and one legislative hopeful – former Chandler Councilwoman Nora Ellen, running in a three-way Republican primary for two House nominations in Chandler Legislative District 16 – shot a selfie of herself and the governor.
While taking note of the numerous state and local officials in the audience – including three school superintendents with whom he “got to work with very closely” as he pushed through his 20 percent raise for teachers – Ducey said:
“I’m grateful for all of the leaders that are in the room, but most of all, I’m thankful for the CEOS, the business owners, the employees and the entrepreneurs in Chandler who are making things happen in this economy.”
That led him to the heart of his message.
He harkened back to his first few months in office in early 2015, when “this state had a $1 billion deficit and a sluggish economy and here we are just a few years later with a balanced budget with a record amount of dollars in our General Fund and an economy that is absolutely booming.”
He touted his administration’s accomplishments in bringing more than 240,000 new private sector jobs and 300 new out-of-state companies to Arizona and asserted that the last time the state’s unemployment rate was as low as it is now, “you were renting movies from Blockbuster.”
He also praised Chandler civic and business leaders, calling it “a city that has embraced innovation” and said it had lured companies that have created “10,000 new jobs for this city and more than $7.4 billion in new investments for the City of Chandler. “
Touting his administration’s restoration of millions in public school funding, Ducey also touted his administration’s investment in public education and increased border security and said he was as concerned about maintaining Arizona’s quality of life as he is about assuring its economy stays strong.