David Garcia Finally Concedes to Diane Douglas in Schools Chief Race

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Nearly a week after polls closed, Democrat David Garcia has finally conceded to Republican Diane Douglas in the race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Garcia spent the week holding tight for a final ballot count, but conceded late yesterday night.

The Associated Press declared Douglas the winner on Sunday. Though thousands of votes have yet to be counted, Douglas has been consistently ahead of Garcia since the polls closed last Tuesday. She currently holds a 1.15 point lead, representing nearly 17,000 votes.

"With the way the numbers have trended, we do not see a path to victory," Garcia said in a press release. "I'm conceding the race and congratulating Diane Douglas on her win."

See also: Diane Douglas Wins -- Meaning Baggage-Heavy, Ex-County Official Sandra Dowling Wins, Too

Douglas' campaign focused solely on her opposition to Common Core. She released a statement calling her victory "a mandate to end Common Core in Arizona."

"My campaign was the clearest way for the citizens of Arizona to reject Common Core and that is what they did with this election," she said.

Garcia called for Common Core's assessments to be supplemented by additional measures of student success, and his campaign was widely endorsed by both sides of the aisle.

"I am proud of the bi-partisan coalition of individuals and groups we brought together, groups that do not normally stand together and stand behind a single candidate," he said. "I will continue to work collaboratively with these groups and continue to fight for the policy changes needed to make our public schools great places to teach and learn."

Though it is unclear just how much Douglas can do to tackle Common Core--she told KTAR radio over the weekend, "We have standards now that we can't control, we can't change and we can't make sure that they work for Arizona"--she said in her press release that it will continue to be a focal point in her role as Superintendent.

"Our victory is clearly a mandate to implement Arizona based and controlled education standards," she said. "We faced an onslaught of outside spending and still emerged victorious because the voters do not want Common Core in Arizona."

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Follow Ashley Cusick on Twitter at @AshleyBCusick.

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