PHOENIX -- You can say this for Democrat Fred DuVal's newborn campaign for governor: it's not typical.
The former Arizona regent said Sunday that poverty was the most pressing issue facing the Grand Canyon State.
This is a sharp departure from the political wars over immigration and government spending that has defined statewide Arizona campaigns in recent years.
"Poverty is significant, we are a low wage state that makes is difficult, as we saw in the recent recession, to manage the budget," said DuVal, who is the first Democrat to jump into the 2014 race.
According to the latest U.S. Census Data, 16.2 percent of Arizonans live below the poverty line. That's higher than the national average, which is 14.3 percent.
Over the past two statewide elections poverty was hardly, if ever, talked about. Last year, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake successfully ran as the guy who would take on President Obama and repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
In 2010, Gov. Jan Brewer used a get-tough stance on illegal immigration to easily defeat her Democratic opponent, former Attorney General Terry Goddard. So it remains to be seen whether a campaign that focuses on the state’s poor will strike a chord with voters.
"We need to grow wealth," DuVal said. "We need to create more exports, we need to sell more products to other states and Mexico."
DuVal launched his exploratory campaign last month. So far he is the only official Democrat running for the office. On Monday, he released a list of 30 former state lawmakers who are backing his campaign.
This comes after unveiling a long list of co-chairmen who will help DuVal raise money. Since he is the lone Democrat, there's been speculation that he's trying keep other Democrats from challenging him for the party's nomination.
Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona and current state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, a Democrat from Phoenix, are also rumored to be in the mix.