Past Republican superintendents endorse Garcia

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Democratic nominee for Arizona superintendent of public instruction won endorsements Wednesday from both sides of the aisle.

Three former state superintendents, including two Republicans, announced their support for David Garcia in the Nov. 4 general election. All three say Garcia will be guided by research and experience, not partisan ideology.

Jaime Molera, a former Republican state schools chief, said Garcia was his top adviser when he was in office. Although he believes in backing the GOP in statewide races, Molera said he believes Garcia is the right person for the job. Molera also appeared to throw a jab at Diane Douglas, the Republican nominee, in his endorsement.

"Arizona does not need someone who will bring extreme and nonsensical views into our K-12 system," Molera said.

Lisa Graham Keegan, a Republican and past state superintendent, said Garcia is someone who informs his decision based on solid data and knows the importance of integrity.

Garcia, a former Arizona State University professor, said he is honored to have the backing of education leaders from both parties.

Douglas, a former school board member from Peoria, soundly defeated incumbent John Huppenthal in the Republican primary last month. She focused much of her campaign on repealing the Obama administration-supported Common Core education standards. In an emailed response Thursday, Douglas said the endorsements show she is the only candidate who wants the state to drop Common Core.

"It's no surprise that these three educational insiders from the past support greater federal interference into Arizona's schools," Douglas said. "I am the only candidate who supports high-quality, state-controlled standards for our students."

Garcia has called Douglas a single-issue candidate who doesn't have the background in education necessary for the position.

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