As we mentioned yesterday, the all-important Q3 campaign finance reports recently came out for all political races, and it provides us a crucial final window into each campaign’s relative strength and opportunity for success. Yesterday we covered the statewide races, and today we look at the most important federal races in Arizona.
First, the biggest race of them all, the race to be on of the two US Senators from the state of Arizona. First, we start with incumbent Mark Kelly, who has been an unmitigated machine when it comes to fundraising. For his campaign to date, he has raised an incredible $75.5 million. He still has a cash-on-hand (CoH) buffer of $13.2 million which will be difficult to spend at this point with all TV spots scheduled. He could instead hold onto a good portion of it and use it to wield additional power in the Senate upon (likely) re-election.
Next is Kelly’s nemesis this election, Blake Masters. While being a close associate to tech billionaire Peter Thiel gave off the early impression that Masters might be able to compete when it comes to fundraising, relatively poor polling against Kelly likely had the impact of drying up some of the spigots. He has raised $8 million to date, a number that simply won’t cut it in a competitive US Senate race, and also took loans of $1 million to bolster his coffers. He currently has a relatively puny $2.8 million CoH.
Now we hop over to the new 1st Congressional District, covering much of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley. Incumbent David Schweikert has long been a relatively poor fundraiser, and while this cycle a spark was clearly lit under him, his numbers aren’t eye-popping for an incumbent. He has raised $1.2 million with an additional $460K in transfers and loans to feed his coffers, and stands with $245K CoH. Democratic challenger Jevin Hodge is actually in a better situation: while he has raised $1 million with a $10K transfer, he sits with a strong CoH advantage with $439K in the bank. He’ll need every penny to knock off the incumbent.
Lastly we go to the only other “purple” district in the Valley, the new CD-4. Incumbent Greg Stanton has been a fundraising machine, bringing in $3.8 million to date and has just under $2 million CoH. Challenger Kelly Cooper simply has not been able to keep up, raising $590K and needing to loan the campaign $1.35 million. She has $254K CoH but still has an outstanding loan of $719K. It seems clear that Stanton will cruise to re-election, and Cooper will have a very expensive lesson learned.
While one of these races should be relatively competitive, as David Schweikert’s runs for re-election sometimes are, the real lesson is the difficulty in ousting incumbents, and how funding will often dry up if the donor class doesn’t see polling results they like. No one wants to invest in a sinking ship after all.