FP1 Strategies is proud to have worked with the Republican Governors Association (RGA) to re-elect Governor Doug Ducey in 2018. We served as the media consultant to the RGA’s independent expenditure campaign in Arizona, conducting one shoot in the Grand Canyon State, and producing and airing nine television ads throughout the election.
In the RGA’s first poll of the race in March 2018, Governor Ducey was trailing the eventual Democratic nominee, David Garcia, by a margin of 41 to 46 percent. The state’s public-school teachers were organizing a massive grassroots movement to push for additional education funding and a pay increase for educators. Their efforts were covered extensively by the media and had affected public perceptions and the ballot.
David Garcia was a professor at Arizona State University and former high-level official in the state’s education department, giving him the opportunity to be a very credible messenger on education, which at the beginning of the campaign was the top priority of Arizona voters.
In the spring, Governor Ducey was able to negotiate a compromise that would provide teachers with a 20 percent pay raise. Due to the state’s strong economy resulting from the governor’s policies and leadership, he was able to finance the pay increase without raising taxes. Sensing an opportunity to address the issue, we produced and aired two spots titled, “Raise” and “Investments”stressing Ducey’s commitment to public-school teachers and Arizona students, helping to blunt what Garcia and the Democrats thought would be their big issue in the fall campaign.
In the summer, David Garcia would commit a significant mistake that put illegal immigration front and center in the campaign. While Garcia was the clear favorite to win the late August Democratic primary, he nevertheless felt compelled to lurch to the left and weigh in on the national debate over U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE, the law enforcement agency that enforces our immigration laws and deports illegal immigrants who commit crimes. We ran the spot, “ICE,” during the Democratic primary to begin disqualifying Garcia as a liberal radical on illegal immigration.
Garcia compounded his problem on illegal immigration when he attended the liberal Netroots conference and espoused open border sentiments from the podium. We seized on the moment. The ads “Agree” and “Cecilia” used Garcia’s own words against him to show voters that he couldn’t be trusted on the vital issue of border security. These two ads were followed up with “So Liberal,” which used Garcia’s “no wall” comments against him again, while educating voters that Garcia was so extreme that he even wanted to give taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants.
The next spot in our ad progression, “New Thinking” defined Garcia as a tax-hiking, big-spending politician who supported taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants. We concluded the campaign with the ads, “Weaker Borders” and “Raise Taxes” that reinforced our central message that David Garcia was too extreme to be Arizona’s Governor.
By the end of the campaign, David Garcia’s image had been inverted and he was deeply underwater and viewed by the majority of Arizona voters as being an extreme liberal.
Thanks in part to our work on the RGA’s IE effort in Arizona, Governor Ducey was re-elected by a margin of 55 to 41 percent. Ducey had a great record of accomplishment and ran a very strong re-election campaign. We are proud to have been a part of the team that ensured he has another four years in office.