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Campaign finance reports show money matters when running for statewide office in Arizona

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By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- New campaign finance reports show that money matters when running for statewide office.
In the crowded Republican field to replace Doug Ducey as governor, the latest figures show that former TV news host Kari Lake, who is polling first among Republican contenders, has paid out more than $1.7 million in her bid.
But that has eaten pretty well into her $2.4 million in contributions, leaving her just slightly more than $700,000.
Meanwhile, fellow Republican Steve Gaynor is sitting on more than $4.1 million.
The reason is that he has put $4.7 million of his own cash into the race, with only about $300,000 coming from elsewhere. More to the point, Gaynor's expenditures on his bid have totaled only about $935,000.
That is reflected in the latest OH Predictive Insights poll which showed Gaynor the choice of just 3% of Republicans.
At the other extreme, Karrin Taylor Robson, a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents, is burning through her cash in an attempt to catch up with Lake in the polls.
She already has spent nearly $6.1 million. That comes from her $6.4 million in donations which includes more than $3.9 million out of her own pocket, leaving her about $357,000 in her bank account.
The spending has apparently had an effect. That new OH Predictive Insights poll shows her now within 7 points of Lake, versus 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 has amassed. He was the choice of 11 percent in the new poll.
One wild card in the GOP primary is Paola Talliani-Zen, owner of La Dolce Vita who has decided to self-fund her bid to become the state's chief executive, with virtually all of her nearly $1.2 million coming from her own pocket. But she still has virtually all of that to spend between now and the Aug. 2 primary, having spent less than $78,000.
Her name was not included in the poll.
Also not listed in the poll is Scott Neely whose $80,000 in donations come mostly from himself. The Mesa business owner has less than $2,200 left after expenses.
On the Democratic side, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs leads among gubernatorial hopefuls with $3.6 million in contributions. After expenses, she list about $1.6 million cash on hand.
Former legislator Aaron Lieberman has about $760,000 available 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 collected, including $385,000 of his own money.
The race to succeed Hobbs as secretary of state hasn't generated quite the same level of donations.
Leading the pack on the Republican side is state Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, who has collected about $940,000. After expenditures he has about $587,000 on hand.
Finchem also has attracted a reported more than $1.4 million in independent expenditures against him.
But Chris Torres, the political director of MoveOn told the Arizona Mirror that this simply reflects the cost of a blast email to all of the group's members telling them that Finchem, a leading proponent of election conspiracy claims, had been endorsed by former President Trump. And Torres said that MoveOn, as a committee registered with the Federal Elections Commission, was required to list the value of its emails to all of its members nationwide at two cents apiece.
Elsewhere in the GOP primary, businessman Beau Lane has more than $630,000 left of the $862,000 he took in.
State Rep. Shawnna Bolick, R-Phoenix, collected more than $213,000 in her bid for the office, leaving her with close to $64,000.
And state Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, has about $30,000 of the $123,000 collected.
Among Democrats hoping to be secretary of state, former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes has $101,000 in the bank after repaying himself $45,000 he had loaned to his committee and spending about $381,000.
Rep. Reginald Bolding, D-Laveen, collected $383,000 including $30,000 of his own cash, with about $181,000 in the bank.
In the Republican race for attorney general, attorney Rodney Glassman is sitting on nearly $1.5 million of the nearly $1.8 million he raised.
But Dawn Grove has $1 million available of the $1.2 million in donations, including $250,000 of her own money. She is vice president of Karsten Manufacturing which makes Ping golf clubs.
Former Maricopa County prosecutor Abraham Hamadeh also raised about $1.2 million, though $1 million of that is his own money. But he hasn't spent a lot 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 spent.
And Pinal County farmer Tiffany Shedd has about $124,000 of the nearly $417,000 collected.
The lone Democrat left in the race is Kris Mayes, a former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, who has close to $408,000 of the $574,000 raised.
All hope to succeed Republican Mark Brnovich who is running for U.S. Senate.
Republican Kimberly Yee, running for reelection as state treasurer after her gubernatorial bid fizzled, has collected almost $192,000 and is sitting on close to $175,000.
State Rep. Jeff Weninger, R-Chandler, hoping to unseat her, has about $45,000 available of the $132,000 raised.
Democrat Martin Quezada has collected about $150,000, leaving him with about $60,000 after expenses.
In the race for superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tom Horne, who held that post before and also was state attorney general, reported $652,000 in donations and about $397,000 in the bank.
GOP foe Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, did not file her campaign finance report by Friday's deadline. Her January report listed $12,000 in donations.
Shiry Sapir, also seeking the GOP bid, is running with public funding and has collected enough qualifying donations. She has close to $111,000 for her primary bid.
Also running with public funds is incumbent Democrat Kathy Hoffman whose has about the same amount of money as Sapir.
Most of the candidates in the race for the two seats up for grabs at the Arizona Corporation Commission also are running with public dollars, though not all have qualified.
On the Democratic side, those who have gotten the $111,000 include incumbent Democrat Sandra Kennedy and Tempe city council member Lauren Kuby. Jonathon Hill who works as an engineer and scientist the the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University, has not yet gathered the requisite 1,500 donations of $5 to get his allocation.
Republican Nick Myers, serving as a policy advisor for current Commissioner Justin Olson, also is working on qualifying for public funding, as are GOP contenders Kevin Thompson, a small business owner, and Kim Owens, a member of the Arizona Power Authority and ratepayer advocate for the Salt River Project Council.
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