How much money are candidates for Arizona governor, secretary of state, attorney general and other races raising?
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
PHOENIX -- Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs has more money in donations than Republican Kari Lake in the race for governor.
But that difference is being made up by more than $6 million spent by outside groups independently advocating for Hobbs' defeat. And the lion's share of that is coming from the Republican Governors Association, led by current Gov. Doug Ducey who, has distanced himself personally from his would-be successor who repeatedly criticized him on the campaign trail.
New figures filed with the state by the Saturday deadline show Hobbs had collected more than $9.6 million into her own campaign. Her expenditures in the report, which covers everything through the end of September, exceeded $8.3 million.
By contrast, Lake had collected nearly $7.4 million, with $5.5 million in expenses.
The real money being spent on Lake's behalf, however, is that cash from outside groups, led by the RGA.
None of its spending was urging Arizonans to support Lake who, in the Republican primary, defeated Ducey-backed Karrin Taylor Robson. Instead, its entire $5.2 million is designed to convince people to vote against Hobbs.
The governor, asked about the RGA funding, told NBC News correspondent Vaughn Hillyard, that his focus is on the three issues of border security, lower taxes and school choice, the last category including the legislation he signed earlier this year allowing any student to get a voucher of state funds to attend private and parochial schools.
"Kari Lake is on the right side of all three of those issues,'' he said.
Ducey also brushed aside questions about the fact that Lake has said she would "decertify'' the 2020 election despite the governor's repeated assurances that the election was fair.
"The primary is over,'' the governor said.
Lake has continued her questioning of the fairness of Arizona elections, refusing as recently as Sunday to say she would live by the results.
"I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result,'' she told CNN.
Her campaign, however, put out a statement Monday saying that Lake wasn't saying she won't accept the results if she loses, only that "she isn't going to lose because of all the issues with her opponent.''
Lake is getting other outside financial help.
The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund reported expenditures of $400,000 in advertising to promote her candidacy. And that's on top of $400,000 listed in opposition spending targeting Hobbs.
Then there's $1 million from an entity called Put Arizona First.
That organization which also spent more than $2.1 million attacking Robson in the GOP primary to Lake's benefit, lists an address as a UPS store on N. Cave Creek Road in Arizona. And it shares that address with SPH Medical LLC which is listed as having contributed $1.7 million.
There is no such limited liability company listed with the Arizona Corporation Commission. A call to the number listed on the campaign finance report was not immediately returned.
Aside from the funds Hobbs reported as going into her own campaign, another $1.4 million was listed as being spent to elect her from others.
Working America, a group affiliated with AFL-CIO, spent close to $500,000 on behalf of Hobbs. And there was another $150,000 from Stand for Children which advocates for school funding.
In the race for secretary of state, Democrat Adrian Fontes is getting big help from outside groups.
Fontes reported donations of more than $2.4 million. But that was nearly matched by independent expenditures working for the defeat of Republican Mark Finchem.
Close to $2.2 million of that opposition spending came from Moveon.org, a national group that advocates for progressive causes. That doesn't count another $250,000 the organization put into pro-Fontes efforts.
Also putting cash into the anti-Finchem campaign was Future Forward PAC which has leanings similar to Moveon.org.
Finchem, for his part, reported collecting $1.8 million directly into his campaign.
Democrat attorney general hopeful Kris Mayes listed income of more than $2.2 million into her campaign against almost $1.8 million for Republican Abraham Hamadeh.
But in this race, too, much of the spending for and against each candidate is being done by outside groups through independent expenditures.
In Hamadeh's case, the Republican Attorneys General Association spent about $830,000 in supporting his election -- and more than $1.3 million in commercials and other materials urging the defeat of Mayes.
Mayes, by contrast, had just $46,000 in spending by outsiders urging her election. But Future Forward PAC listed nearly $435,000 in expenses against Hamadeh.
The race for state schools chief shows incumbent Democrat Kathy Hoffman with nearly $305,000 in donations. That includes the $276,000 she got from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in public funds and another $27,675 she was allowed to collect in private donations.
There was another $12,430 spent on her behalf by outsiders.
In contrast, Republican Tom Horne, running with private dollars, lists income of more than $865,000.
There were no independent expenditures listed for him. And neither candidate showed outside groups spending money against them.
The four candidates for two seats on the five-member Arizona Corporation Commission all have pretty much the same amount of money to spend.
Democrat incumbent Sandra Kennedy, fellow Democrat Lauren Kuby and Republicans Kim Owens and Nick Myers all agreed to accept public funds. That qualified each of them for more than $110,000 for the primary and another $166,000 for the general election.
But Kennedy and Kuby do have an advantage. Chispa Arizona, an arm of the League of Conservation Voters, reported independent spending of $100,000 for each.
In the race for treasurer, incumbent Republican Kimberly Yee listed income of more than $286,000. That includes $153,486 she had left over from her short-lived bid for governor before pulling out of the race and deciding instead to seek another term.
She is being matched by Democratic challenger Martin Quezada whose donations totaled $293,000.
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