by David Safier
AzBlueMeanie and others reported on the support for Democratic LD3 candidate Maria Garcia by the American Federation for Children (AFC), an ALEC-connected pro-privatization, pro-voucher group. This tactic of using right wing "education reform" money to push a Democrat sympathetic to their cause in a Democratic district is a nationwide phenomenon.
Take Wisconsin. The AFC pushed five Democratic legislative candidates in five heavily Democratic district primaries. One was the incumbent Milwaukee legislator, Jason Fields, who sponsored a voucher bill for special education students (The "bi-partisan" bill was defeated but will probably appear again next legislative session). The AFC spent $15,000 to $30,000 per candidate.
The good news is, all five AFC-supported candidates lost their primaries, including the incumbent Jason Fields. But expect this tactic to be a regular part of our political landscape. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on legislative races amounts to little more than a rounding error for these heavily funded groups (AFC is bankrolled by Betsy DeVos, whose husband founded Amway), but it can be a significant chunk of change in small-money races.