We are in the final stretch for political campaigns, and the extremely important Q3 campaign finance reports were just released. These will give us our final peer into the financial capacities of campaigns before early ballots are mailed out, so we looked into the most critical statewide races to see how the candidates are doing.
First, we start with the Governor’s race. Kari Lake has run a non-traditional campaign (pre-Trump non-traditional at least) and has eschewed more normalized ways of fundraising and spending in favor of earned media and organic social media mobilization, and her fundraising has reflected that. To date she raised $3.55 million in this last reporting period but still maintains a robust, $1.5 million cash-on-hand (CoH). While independent expenditure groups (IEs) have spent $1.9 million to help her, they have also spent $3.6 million to defeat her.
Katie Hobbs boasts relatively similar but better numbers, which would be one of the rare instances that a Democratic candidate for Governor has outraised their Republican counterpart: raised $4.7 million this past quarter and has $1.7 million CoH. More tellingly is the IE battle, as she has had $1.4 million in IE support but a menacing $6.1 million in IE spend against her, mostly thanks to the Republican Governor’s Association.
Now onto the Secretary of State race, where like the Governor’s race the candidates are relatively similar in terms of CoH, but the IEs tell a different story. Mark Finchem raised $592K last quarter and still has $385K CoH. That said, while his IE support has been negligible, he does have a daunting $2.35 million in IE spend against him. Meanwhile, Adrian Fontes has excellent fundraising prowess recently with $1.7 million raised in Q3 and has $746K CoH. IE spending has been much more muted, with $428K of spending in favor of him and, $58K against.
Lastly, we will address the Attorney General’s race, where again the Democrat has outraised the Republican in the final stretch. Abe Hamadeh raised $730K last quarter and sits with $418K CoH. IE spending has been relatively balanced, with $860K spent to benefit him and $760K to defeat him. Meanwhile, Kris Mayes had a blockbuster quarter with $1.2 million raised and enters the last stretch with $447K CoH. However the IE spending is incredibly unbalanced, as while a meager $46K was spent to help her,, $1.4 million has been spent to defeat her.
These numbers reflect the new reality in Arizona politics: that statewide races will be real contests and will likely go down to the very wire. With little TV commercial inventory available and repeated mailers and digital ads having marginal benefit, candidates will have a challenge in fighting through the noise and making impactful final pitches.