PHOENIX, October 22 – Dem Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate David Garcia has gotten a major boost from third-party supporters, to the tune of $493,837 since Oct. 10. The brunt of the spending has been in support of Garcia, but nearly $160,000 of it was in opposition to GOP candidate Diane Douglas. Garcia spokeswoman Julie Erfle told our reporter the campaign was shocked to see the numbers because, although many people have pledged support, “you never know what that support means.” Restore Education Funding Now (YS, 10/13) has spent $300,000 for television ads. Stand for Children AZ has spent $136,492 on mailers since Oct. 15. The mailers target Douglas’ position on a proposed casino in Glendale and her association with Tea Party leader Wes Harris, a convicted felon. The first mailer depicts Douglas as being supportive of casinos being located next to schools. (The mailer shows an elementary-age child, but the school near the casino proposed by the Tohono O’odham Tribe is actually a high school. The tribe has configured the proposed layout so the casino is at the farthest point of a 54-acre plot away from the high school.) Douglas told our reporter in an interview last week that she thought Glendale should have given up the legal fight against the casino because it was losing and paying exorbitant legal fees. The second mailer questions Douglas’ judgment by noting that Harris once was the treasurer for her campaign. He was convicted in February 1998 of aggravated assault, and the offense involved a gun, according to court records. Douglas spokeswoman Sandra Dowling said neither she nor Douglas had seen the mailer and couldn’t comment on it. The mailer asks, “Imagine who she’ll hire if she gets elected.” Campaign records show Harris had been listed as treasurer on the first two reporting periods in 2014 and he had been reimbursed money for mileage, but he was subsequently replaced by LD20 GOP Chairman Ray Malnar. A source close to the campaign said Harris hasn’t been involved since well before July.