/ Modified apr 25, 2017 5:26 a.m.

Democrats Prepare to Challenge Ducey for Governor

Election Day is nearly 18 months away, but the race for Arizona governor is underway.

Vote Here sign hero A Vote Here sign outside a polling place. (PHOTO: Lorie Shaull)

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Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey hasn’t said if he will run for re-election, although he has more than $500,000 in his campaign account, and no one expects him to walk away after only one term in office.

The people challenging Ducey will need plenty of money to take on the incumbent, Republican political strategist Jaime Molera told Arizona Public Media last week, calling it a “Herculean task”

Two Democrats have filed the paperwork to run for governor.

Noah Dyer unsized VIEW LARGER Political newcomer Noah Dyer was the first Democrat to declare his candidacy for the 2018 Arizona governor race. (PHOTO: Noah Dyer for Governor)

Political newcomer Noah Dyer was the first Democrat to officially challenge Ducey. He knows he has a long road to the executive floor of the Capitol.

“Seeing as I don’t have a long political resume, it was important for me to get out in front of this, start getting my name out there, start building coalitions and trust with voters,” said Dyer.

He’s been a registered Republican, independent and now Democrat. But it was his announcement on Statehood Day, Feb. 14, that raised some eyebrows.

In his speech he said he wanted to rub the feet of Arizona and serenade the state. He now says that wasn’t an actual offer.

“I wrote a love letter to the state as a rhetorical device,” he explained. “ I do not literally intend to make my campaign about songs and foot rubs. It is more about being in a relationship - you gotta show you care about people, and I intend to do that for the state of Arizona.”

Relationship building and statewide name recognition are important in a race for governor.

David Garcia Supt. of Public 2014 David Garcia

David Garcia entered the Democratic primary a few weeks ago. Some may remember him for his run for state superintendent of public instruction in 2014. That experience taught him he has plenty of work to do, but he said the electorate is energized.

“I am going to meetings where, formally, there were 10 people. Now, there’s 50, 60, 100 people. And I think those folks are looking for a place to get involved,” said Garcia.

The third Democrat most political observers are talking about as a gubernatorial candidate is Tucson state Sen. Steve Farley. He hasn’t declared his candidacy yet. That will happen when the Legislature wraps up its work.

Steve Farley AZILL VIEW LARGER Arizona state Senator Steve Farley. (PHOTO: AZPM)

Farley said all the Democrats will have to work to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

“This is a long road to be able to be elected governor of a state that is as big and diverse as Arizona. If you are serious about it you have to lay the groundwork and you have to get everywhere and meet everyone,” said Farley.

A crowded primary also has the political danger of Democrats wounding each other, causing trouble in the general election.

“I don’t think it is a situation where the candidates are going to hurt each other. It think we are going to come out stronger as a result of having a primary,” said Garcia.

Election Day for the next governor is Nov. 6, 2018, 560 days from now.

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