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Ducey among governors targeted in new ad campaign for 'anti-science' COVID policies

A political action committee that aims to elect candidates with backgrounds in science and engineering is spending $10 million against Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates in six states who back “anti-science” COVID-19 policies, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. 

“We are going to hold Governor Ducey accountable on a number of anti-science measures,” Joshua Morrow, executive director of 314 Action, told the Arizona Mirror. “We are going to become very good friends.”

The first set of ads specifically target the violent rhetoric that has been seen in Arizona and across the country at school board meetings related to mask mandates aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Arizona was at the forefront of the issue with one of the first major incidents occurring in the state in the small Southern Arizona town of Vail. The protest would lead to further protests across the state and changes to how school boards operated. Now the FBI has even begun to investigate threats made to school board members across the country as school board protests continue. 

314 Action is planning to make this issue part of their current campaign, which highlights Ducey’s silence on the issue along with governors and gubernatorial candidates in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa and Virginia. 

Ducey signed a law earlier this year barring school districts from enacting mask mandates on students, staff and visitors, but a judge last month ruled the law was unconstitutional. Ducey and the state are appealing the ruling.

The governor has fought with advocates for masking in schools and has also recently taken heat from the administration of President Joe Biden for his stance on masks due to a grant program that gives COVID-19 federal funds to schools that don’t have mask mandates. 

The Treasury Department ordered Ducey to stop the program saying it was not a “permissible use” of the federal monies, the state still has time to respond to the Treasury Department’s order. 

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The video ad will be played on Facebook, local news and other digital platforms, and 314 Action says it is targeting “college-educated Republicans” who disliked the messaging of “Trump-era” politics, Morrow said. 

Morrow admitted that Arizona does have a population that tends to lean more into anti-science beliefs, but said 314 Action’s aim is to continue to target the “Romney/Clinton coalition” that came together after Trump’s 2016 election that swung the state blue in 2020. 

“The next time (Ducey) goes to a country club or sits on the board of a company, we want the people around him to know where he stood on this issue,” Morrow said. 

Morrow would not say how much of the $10 million will be spent in Arizona.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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Arizona was at the forefront of the mask mandate issue with one of the first major incidents occurring in the state in Vail.

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