Douglas wins Arizona schools superintendent race

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- Former suburban school board member Diane Douglas narrowly won the race to become Arizona's top education official Sunday after running a one-issue campaign to repeal the Common Core education standards.

Douglas pulled out a close victory after Democrat David Garcia could not overcome her advantage as late ballots were counted through the week. Garcia's campaign did not want to comment Sunday.

Douglas unabashedly ran on the single issue of abolishing Common Core, losing the backing of the Republican establishment as a result and drawing the ire of business leaders who were worried that such an action would send a bad message about Arizona.

She was unable to secure endorsements from traditional Republican groups like the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry but benefited from a big night for Republicans in Arizona and nationally as anti-Obama administration sentiment swept through the country.

Douglas said the education standards amount to federal government overreach and they need to be stopped immediately. The issue worked in her favor during the primary when she toppled incumbent John Huppenthal, who stumbled through an error-prone campaign.

Garcia is an Army veteran who has a lengthy background in education. He said politicians on the right like Douglas are demonizing standards that simply outline what students need to know at the end of each grade level.

Douglas, a former Peoria school board member, ran a low-key campaign in which she largely avoided public events in favor of tea-party gatherings and conservative talk radio interviews.

As she built a solid lead over Garcia on Election Day, Douglas told reporters that her success was the result of parents who voted for her because they wanted a say in their children's education.

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