PHOENIX — Democrat Fred DuVal on Thursday filed more than twice the number of signatures needed to qualify for the governor’s race as he prepares a campaign he hopes will return a Democrat to Arizona’s top elected office for the first time in six years.
The former member of the Arizona Board of Regents and Tucson native filed more than 10,000 signatures he said were collected from voters by volunteers in all 15 counties.
DuVal faces no serious competition for the Democratic nomination in the August primary, so he’ll likely face the winner of what is shaping up as a seven-way primary fight among Republican candidates. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is term-limited and said in March she would not fight a constitutional battle to seek another term.
DuVal, 59, says he plans to campaign on his belief that the state needs to change direction. He said he’ll push to restore cuts to education he contends have been devastating and expand job opportunities for working families.
“I’m about solutions, I’m about change, I’m about a vision for Arizona that expands opportunity, increases the quality of our jobs and increases our educational quality,” DuVal told reporters. “And that is a message which talks to Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.”
The Republican primary is shaping up as a slugfest among candidates who have been scrambling to scratch out a leading position in a crowded field. Only two Republicans have filed signatures so far to qualify for the ballot — Secretary of State Ken Bennett and former Go Daddy executive Christine Jones. Candidates have until May 28 to file more than 5,600 signatures needed to get on the Republican primary ballot.
The other GOP candidates include state Treasurer Doug Ducey, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, state Sen. Al Melvin, former Rep. Frank Riggs and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
DuVal served as a top aide and adviser to Bruce Babbitt during Babbitt’s terms as governor in the late 1970s and 1980s and his unsuccessful campaign for the 1988 Democratic nomination for president. He served in President Bill Clinton’s administration and was appointed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano to the Board of Regents. He also worked in private business.
Although Arizona is seen as a conservative Republican state, he said that’s not the case and he planned to campaign aggressively on a “change” platform. He also noted that of the last three gubernatorial elections, a Democrat won twice.
“The fact that the Democrats have won two of the last three and have a majority of the congressional seats suggests Arizona voters don’t really care as much about R or D, they care about forward versus backward,” he said. “They want leadership that’s going to make change that’s going to give them the kind of opportunity that they’re seeking. And they’ve proven time and time again that they will vote for candidates not for party people.”