PHOENIX -- Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey won the Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, beating out former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Go Daddy executive Christine Jones.
"I want to be the governor for all the people, and in this campaign I will reach out to all the people," he said in remarks prepared for delivery at a Republican Party rally in Phoenix. "You have my word that as the Republican nominee, I will keep giving this race the best that is in me, and I will earn the vote by showing the best that is in Arizona."
In an interview, Smith said he was proud to have done as well as he did, considering he was hit with negative advertising and vastly outspent by candidates with large personal fortunes.
"I'm not really into moral victories, but on this one I'm proud we ran a campaign that resonated with so many Arizonans even though we were at a severe disadvantage. It means our message had meaning," he said.
In a statement, Jones also said she was proud of her campaign and urged party unity.
"Now it's time for us to work for the good of Arizona," she said. "The real battle lies ahead -- for our state and the next generation."
Well behind Tuesday night were Secretary of State Ken Bennett, former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and former California congressman Frank Riggs.
Becky Fenger, a retiree, said she supported Ducey and noted that she didn't like Smith and Jones for various reasons. "I would like to vote for Ken Bennett, an honest man but no pizazz," Fenger said. "Riggs does not have a shot in hell."
The 50-year-old Ducey will now face-off against Democrat Fred DuVal, who ran unopposed in the primary. The vote for Arizona's next governor is scheduled for Nov. 4.
DuVal told a crowd at his party's primary night event that he would be honest and transparent as governor.
"Whether you are a Republican or an independent or Democrat, as long as you are committed to education, job creation, and you're committed to cleaning up our government, you are welcome in this campaign," he said.
Ducey will need to act quickly to heal a party that was divided by the primary fight. Ducey, Jones and Smith have each been hit with attack ads, which can turn off voters.
Gov. Jan Brewer, who will leave office in January, embraced Ducey although she had campaigned vigorously for Smith.
"There is only one candidate who will fight federal overreach and Barack Obama's failed policies," Brewer said. "Let me be perfectly clear: I am a friend of Doug Ducey, and I wholeheartedly endorse him as Arizona's next governor."
Ducey, the current state treasurer, was endorsed by both Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Utah Gov. Mike Lee, and many other conservatives also endorsed Ducey for governor.
Many of the candidates backed Ducey because of his stance on illegal immigration.
"As the son of a cop, he understands law enforcement issues and will make public safety a top priority," Arpaio said in a release.
I am downtown showing my support for Doug Ducey pic.twitter.com/dLxcz3eaq6— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 27, 2014
Ducey's success story was also a factor in his endorsements. He is the former owner of Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream shop that began in Phoenix and grew nationwide.
"Through his efforts as CEO, Doug grew Cold Stone Creamery from a small local Tempe ice cream parlor with four stores into a major international chain with 1,400 franchises in 31 countries," Palin wrote.
Before election day, KTAR asked the three Republican gubernatorial front-runners to share their views on major issues via Twitter. We called it Tweet the Vote.
Here's how Ducey compares to the other candidates. Keep in mind, all these responses were taken from Twitter and may not be grammatically correct.
|How would you fight illegal immigration?||No budget busting here. Looking at expanding RICO funds, raising fines for felons & privatizing the lottery. #KTARtweetthevote||I've laid a out a clear, realistic plan to fix our immig. system that I'll work to implement as Gov: http://bit.ly/1wWAZ6D||You don't. Immigration is federal policy. You secure the border. See http://thejonesplan.com for how. #KTARtweetthevote #azgov|
|How would you create high-paying jobs?||We'll start by getting gov't out of the way -- simpler, lower taxes & eliminating unnecessary regulation. #KTARtweetthevote||Focus state on impl. of strategic, forward-thinking economic dev. plan based on AZ's industry & regional strengths. #HEAT||Get govt out of the way of private sector, keep taxes low & provide a friendly reg. environment, recruit #biz from out of state|
|What are your top priorities for education?||Critical to K-12 edu is improving outcomes by replicating successful models statewide & funding wait lists #KTARtweetthevote||Supporting higher standards that include children passing 3rd grade reading levels, + attracting & retaining great teachers.||Yes to school choice. No to common core. Spend more efficiently. More dollars to classrooms. #KTARtweetthevote #azgov|
|What differentiates you from other candidates?||@azcopinions put it best: Moving AZ forward requires ability 2 bring together diverse coalitions. Ducey has shown he can do it||Only candidate that balanced a budget in the middle of a recession, proven results & leadership in private and public sectors.||Detailed plans for #bordersecurity & #economic development. Proven #biz success. No strings attached. https://vimeo.com/103029896|
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KTAR's Emily Mahoney and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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