Republican Doug Ducey defeats Democrat Fred DuVal to become next Arizona governor
On a big night for the Republican party across the nation, Cold Stone Creamery founder and current state treasurer Republican Doug Ducey defeated former chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents Democrat Fred DuVal to become Arizona's next governor.
Hundreds of Ducey supporters cheered inside the Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.
"I can tell you tonight, hang on a little longer," Ducey said. “Help is on the way.”
Cheers from Ducey supporters echoed off the walls inside the ballroom. West Valley resident Lisa Gray attended the election party, and she said she was very happy Ducey won.
"I'm ecstatic," Gray said. "I don't think there are words to describe how happy I am that he is governor."
Scottsdale resident Gordon James is from Scottsdale and said he knew both DuVal and Ducey. James said he has been friends with Ducey for 20 years.
"We're glad that Ducey won," Gordon said. "It's a big commitment."
Gordon said they met at a business function. He said that he was sympathetic for Duval's loss.
"We're blessed that Arizona had two good men running for governor," Gordon said.
As Ducey took the victory for this year's gubernatorial race, DuVal supporters did not lose the energy they had been carrying since the beginning of the night.
In his concession speech, DuVal said he hopes Ducey will be a governor of all of Arizona.
"I want to thank all of you for moving Arizona forward," DuVal told a ballroom full of supporters. "We may have lost the election but we have not lost our integrity."
DuVal and Ducey began the race neck and neck, but Ducey started to take a significant lead after early ballots were counted.
Ducey focused his campaign primarily on lowering taxes for Arizona residents, after he defeated Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, Secretary of State Ken Bennett and former GoDaddy.com executive Christine Jones to win the Republican nomination in the August primaries.
He received criticism during the campaign for his involvement with Cold Stone Creamery. He sold the company to Kahala in 2007 and many stores suffered during the recession that began the following year.
DuVal, who ran unopposed for the Democrat nomination in the primaries, campaigned heavily on improving education by increasing access to education and overall funding for public education.
Allison Ewers, who is running for the Kyrene School Board, said she thinks DuVal ran a good campaign that was focused on education.
"There is still hope for Arizona," she said. "I think we had a good education ballot and the candidates who ran worked very hard."
State Press reporters Kelcie Grega, Jonathan Williams and Shelby Slade contributed to this report.