Ducey elected governor of Ariz.

Doug Ducey

Doug Ducey

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey cruised to an easy win over Democrat Fred DuVal on Tuesday to become the next governor as voters chose to stick with the Republican Party for the state's top office as it still struggles to bounce back from the Great Recession.

Ducey portrayed himself as the inevitable winner in the final weeks of the campaign, buoyed by heavy spending on his behalf by outside groups and strong Republican turnout in early voting. He emerged from a bruising six-way primary in August in the race to replace Gov. Jan Brewer and went on to outspend DuVal in the general election.

Ducey takes office in January and will face a fiscal crisis caused by lower-than-expected tax revenue and a court order that could put Arizona on the hook for up to $2.5 billion in new education spending. The state faces a projected deficit of $1.5 billion in the current and next budget years amid promises from both candidates to cut taxes.

Ducey, 50, helped launch Cold Stone Creamery in Arizona and built it into a well-known chain before selling the company in 2007 and getting into politics. He was elected as state treasurer in 2010 and said his experience in the private and public sectors made him the right fit to lead the state.

DuVal, 60, served as an aide to Gov. Bruce Babbitt in the late 1970s and the 1980s, worked in President Bill Clinton's administration and was appointed by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano to the University of Arizona Board of Regents.