Millions of dollars are flowing into Arizona’s most competitive races, and not surprisingly, several candidates running for statewide office are the top beneficiaries or targets of this influx of spending. Several legislative races have also attracted a surprisingly high amount of money.
Karrin Taylor Robson doesn’t just have the deepest pockets when it comes to the race for Governor, she has also received the most support from independent expenditures, at just over $2.3 million, and has been targeted by negative attacks in excess of $1.4 million. Ranked 2nd is Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Reginald Bolding, who is receiving more than $1.8 million in help, although that help is not without controversy, as much of it comes from a group that he himself is connected to. [Related Article: Democratic Secretary of State Candidates in Conflict Over Alleged Opposition Research]
Coming in 3rd on the list is Republican Dawn Grove, candidate for Attorney General, who has received nearly $1.3 million in support, all from a single group paid in one lump sum in June. In 4th place is Kari Lake, who polls show is currently leading the race for the Republican nomination for Governor. Lake has benefited from nearly $1.2 million in support and has been targeted by almost $400,000 in attacks.
Surprisingly, the next 3 largest beneficiaries are not other statewide candidates, but State Senate candidates instead. The 5th largest recipient of outside special interest cash is Joanne Osborne, who is running against a Trump-endorsed candidate, Janae Shamp, for State Senate in District 29 in the West Valley. Osborne received an eye-popping $189,000 in outside help, compared to $51,000 in outside attacks. The 6th largest recipient is Rusty Bowers, the current House Speaker who is in a tough Senate Republican primary against David Farnsworth, who has the Trump endorsement in that race. Bowers is nearly equally supported and opposed in his race, with $185,000 in support and $157,000 in opposition. And #7 is Robert Scantlebury, who is a Trump endorsed candidate running against Tyler Pace in the Republican primary in District 9 in the East Valley. Scantlebury has received over $148,000 in help so far.
The #8 recipient is Andrew Gould, who is running for Attorney General, but he only received a little over $138,000 in support. Coming in 9th is Matt Gress, Budget Director for Governor Doug Ducey, and the Governor’s own PAC and friends have lifted Gress’ campaign to the tune of nearly $133,000. Coming in 10th on the list is David Farnsworth, who is running against Bowers, and who received $125,000 worth of support, as well as $30,000 in attacks.
The only other candidates receiving more than $100,000 in help are Trey Terry ($105,000), who is running for State House alongside Joanne Osborne, and Frank Carroll, who is running for State Senate in the Northwest Valley ($102,000).
“It looks like a lot of money is going to wait on the sidelines for the general election for statewide offices like Attorney General and Secretary of State, because they haven’t attracted any real outside interest other than groups connected to the candidates themselves.” said one lobbyist who is involved with some of the outside spending. “The real action is in a few of these legislative races where the pro-Trump or anti-establishment money is flowing freely to help Farnsworth and Scantlebury and the anti-Trump and establishment money is pouring in to elect Osborne, Bowers, Gress, and Terry.”
In each of those legislative districts, Republicans hold a decisive registration advantage, so the winners of the primaries will be heavily favored to be elected in November, making them a much higher priority for outside groups.