Campaign financial reports show that money is important when running for state office in Arizona

By Howard Fisher
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX — New campaign funding reports show money is important when running for statewide office.
In the packed Republican field to replace Doug Ducey as governor, the latest figures show former TV news anchor Kari Lake, who is the number one Republican candidate, spent more than $1.7 million for her bid paid off.
But that pretty much ate away at her $2.4 million in contributions, leaving her with just over $700,000.
Meanwhile, fellow Republican Steve Gaynor is sitting on more than $4.1 million.
The reason is that he put $4.7 million of his own money into the race, with only about $300,000 coming from elsewhere. More importantly, Gaynor only spent about $935,000 on his bid.
This is reflected in the latest OH Predictive Insights poll, which showed Gaynor voting just 3% of Republicans.
At the other extreme is Karrin Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents, who is burning her money trying to catch Lake in the polls.
She has already spent nearly $6.1 million. That comes from her $6.4 million in donations, including more than $3.9 million from her own pocket, leaving her about $357,000 in her bank account.
The spending appears to have had an effect. This new survey from OH Predictive Insights now shows her within 7 points of Lake, up from the 15 points she was behind in January.
Former Congressman Matt Salmon, meanwhile, has about $703,000 left of the more than $1.6 million in donations he’s amassed. He was the choice of 11 percent in the new poll.
A wild card in the GOP primary is La Dolce Vita owner Paola Talliani-Zen, who decided to self-fund her bid for the position of state chief executive, with virtually all of her nearly $1.2 million off come from their own pocket. But she still has practically everything she can spend through elementary school on Aug. 2, having spent less than $78,000.
Your name was not included in the survey.
Also not included in the survey is Scott Neely, whose $80,000 donations were largely his own. The Mesa business owner has less than $2,200 left after expenses.
On the Democrat side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs leads the nominee for governor with $3.6 million in donations. After deducting expenses, she lists a cash balance of about $1.6 million.
Former lawmaker Aaron Lieberman has about $760,000 to spend after spending about $660,000 of his more than $1.4 million in donations.
And businessman Marco Lopez is sitting on nearly $450,000 of the $1.5 million he raised, including $385,000 of his own money.
The race to succeed Hobbs as secretary of state hasn’t generated quite the same amount of donations.
Leading the Republican side is Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, who has raised about $940,000. After deducting expenses, he has about $587,000 on hand.
Finchem has also allegedly attracted more than $1.4 million in independent expenses against him.
But Chris Torres, MoveOn’s political director, told the Arizona Mirror that it simply reflected the cost of a blast email sent to all members of the group telling them Finchem, a leading proponent of election conspiracy claims, had been killed by the former President Trump had been supported. And Torres said that as a committee registered with the Federal Elections Commission, MoveOn is required to list the value of its emails to all of its members across the country at two cents apiece.
Elsewhere in the GOP primary, businessman Beau Lane has more than $630,000 left over from the $862,000 he raked in.
State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, raised more than $213,000 in her bid for the office, leaving her with almost $64,000.
And state senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, has about $30,000 of the $123,000 raised.
Among Democrats hoping to become Secretary of State, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has $101,000 in the bank after paying back $45,000 he loaned his committee and about $381,000 spent dollars.
Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, raised $383,000, including $30,000 from his own cash, with about $181,000 in the bank.
In the Republican race for attorney general, attorney Rodney Glassman sits on nearly $1.5 million of the nearly $1.8 million he raised.
But Dawn Grove has $1 million of the $1.2 million in donations available, including $250,000 of her own money. She is the vice president of Karsten Manufacturing, which makes Ping golf clubs.
Former Maricopa County prosecutor Abraham Hamadeh also raised about $1.2 million, although $1 million of that is his own money. But he hasn’t spent much so far, with more than $1 million left.
Andrew Gould, a former Court of Appeals judge, raised nearly $1.2 million and has about $528,000 left to spend.
And Pinal County farmer Tiffany Shedd raised about $124,000 of the nearly $417,000.
The only Democrat still standing is Kris Mayes, a former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, who has nearly $408,000 of the $574,000 raised.
Everyone is hoping to succeed Republican Mark Brnovich, who is running for the US Senate.
Republican Kimberly Yee, who is running for re-election as state treasurer after failing to run for gubernatorial election, has raised nearly $192,000 and is sitting on nearly $175,000.
Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, who hopes to unseat her, has about $45,000 of the $132,000 raised.
Democrat Martin Quezada raised about $150,000, leaving him about $60,000 after spending.
In the race for superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tom Horne, who previously held that post and was also attorney general, reported $652,000 in donations and about $397,000 in the bank.
GOP opponent Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, did not file her financial report for the campaign by Friday’s deadline. Their January report listed $12,000 in donations.
Shiry Sapir, who is also campaigning for the GOP bid, is running on public funds and has raised enough qualifying donations. She has almost $111,000 for her main bid.
Also running with public funds is incumbent Democrat Kathy Hoffman, who has about as much money as Sapir.
Most of the candidates in the running for the two up-and-coming seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission are also running on public dollars, although not all have qualified.
On the Democratic side, those who received the $111,000 include incumbent Democrat Sandra Kennedy and Tempe City Councilman Lauren Kuby. Jonathon Hill, who works as an engineer and scientist at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, has yet to raise the required $1,500 in donations to receive his allotment.
Republican Nick Myers, who serves as political adviser to current Commissioner Justin Olson, is also working to qualify for public funds, as are GOP contenders Kevin Thompson, a small business owner, and Kim Owens, an Arizona Power Authority member and attorney the taxpayer for the Salt River Project Council.

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