Bernie Sanders stumps for ASU professor and gubernatorial candidate

Sanders brought his signature ideas to a rally for David Garcia

With the midterm elections two weeks away, a crowd of around 1000 gathered at the Student Pavilion to hear progressive political figure Bernie Sanders and others rally voters for ASU professor and gubernatorial candidate David Garcia. 

Sanders came to ASU as part of a week-long tour supporting progressive candidates across the country. Sanders was joined by fellow progressives Congressman Ruben Gallego and Jesse Avalos, the president of Young Democrats at ASU and a political science senior. 

One subtext of the event, held on campus and hosted by a student organization, is to inspire students — a group that leans left — to vote in the midterms. 

“We wanted students to get involved in the midterm elections and make them understand the importance of issues such as education and understanding local state issues," Avalos said. 

But the bulk of the rally was spent on typical Sanders talking points and late-stage campaigning.

“When millionaires spend hundreds of millions (of) dollars and ordinary people don’t vote, Republicans win and win big and that is what happened in the 2014 midterm elections,” Sanders said.

Gallego said President Donald Trump and Garcia's Republican opponent, Gov. Doug Ducey, were “pulling off the biggest generational theft in the history of this country.”

“They are literally smashing and grabbing everything they can to basically rob you, your family and your kids for the future you’re working hard for," Gallego said. "They and the 1 percent are taking everything they can as fast as possible."

Garcia compared his time in the military to Ducey's former job as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery. 

“I’ve served my country, Doug Ducey has served ice cream, folks," Garcia said. "I'm an everyday guy looking to make a difference in my state."

Garcia, an associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, has made education a focus of his campaign at a time when public education funding in the state has dwindled. He said the #redfored movement indicated a need for a governor who takes that issue seriously.

“After four years under Doug Ducey, 75,000 teachers had to march to his front door to get him to listen," Garcia said. "When I win, I'll treat you like actual professionals. I am in this to make sure we invest in public education."

Sanders called the upcoming midterm elections the “most important election in modern history.”

“Four years ago, when the last midterm election happened, United States had the lowest voter turnout since World War II. In 2018, we have to have the highest voter turnout,” he said.

Late last week, the ASU College Republicans raised concerns in a tweet that ASU should not be hosting a political event for an ASU professor.


An Arizona Capitol Times and OH Predictive Insights poll of 600 likely voters on Oct. 3 suggested Ducey held a 17-point lead over Garcia. 


 Reach the reporter at wmelhem@asu.edu or follow @wissmel on Twitter.

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