PHOENIX (AP) — Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and Democratic candidate David Garcia on Tuesday were headed into the second round of this week's slugfest with another televised debate.
During their first face-off in Phoenix on Monday, Ducey and Garcia quibbled over border and education policies, with Garcia complaining about attack ads he characterized as bigoted. The second debate on Tuesday night is in Tucson.
Jon Thompson, spokesman for the Republican Governors Association that produced the ads about Garcia's stand on border issues, called any suggestion of bigotry absurd.
Several of the ads said Garcia wants to "abolish ICE," or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a charge he flatly denied on Monday.
Illegal immigration is an issue that runs deep in Arizona, a border state that is home to a large Latino population and some of the toughest laws in the nation targeting migrants living in the U.S. illegally. Ducey has stressed increased security along Arizona's southern border aimed at stopping the flow of drugs and illegal immigration.
Garcia, a fourth-generation Latino who works as an education professor, has focused on the state's public education system, another key issue.
An unprecedented teacher strike in Arizona shut down public schools for six days in the spring. The teachers returned to class after Ducey signed a plan to give them a 20 percent pay raise: 9 percent in the fall and about 5 percent in each of the following two years. A previously agreed upon raise makes up the remainder.
Ducey has also announced plans for an academy for public school instructors.
Garcia said school funding still lags nationwide and that Arizona is among the worst places in the country for teachers. He has said many of the state's teachers work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
The debate begins at 7 p.m.