Here are the Arizona Progress and Gazette, we love to cover the weird world that is Arizona politics. Not many states are pure swing states, which brings with it an incredible amount of attention. And perhaps no race other than the Presidential race will be more watched than the specter of a three-person cage match to represent Arizona in the US Senate alongside Sen. Mark Kelly.
Campaign viability is almost always tied to fundraising, and with that in mind we received some clarity as to where the candidates stand in the way of their 2023 Q4 financial statements. And so far, it’s Advantage Gallego.
According to those Q4 reports, Rep. Ruben Gallego brought in $3.3 million and sat with $6.5 in cash at the end of the year. Compare this with Kari Lake, who brought in $2,1 million but with no cash-on-hand numbers available at the time of writing. Incumbent Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s numbers were not available at the time of writing.
Perhaps most notable with the fact that 99% of Gallego’s contributions were under $200. That means that he has been able to build an incredible breadth and scope of donors nationally, ones that he will be able to go back to time and time again until the election, as opposed to max donors who are tapped out until after the primary election.
All of this is a relative pittance in what is certain to be one of the most important races in the country however, especially considering the extremely tight lead that Democrats have in the Senate. For context, a stunning $236 million was spent in the 2022 US Senate election; in all fairness, over half of that was spent by outside groups, but regardless, the bar of competitiveness for a US Senate race starts around $30 million or so, so the early numbers matter but are not critical.
While Gallego’s strength is obvious, a big question will be Kari Lake’s ability to fundraise. During her run for Governor, she eschewed the necessity of traditional fundraising, relying instead on earned media and a strong social media presence. As a result, she was soundly defeated by Katie Hobbs in the fundraising race. While the national Republican party will likely come to her support unless Sheriff Mark Lamb makes it a competitive primary, she must demonstrate that she has learned a lesson from her failure in her gubernatorial race.
But of course, the big elephant in the room is whether or not Sinema will vie for another term in the face of low favorability ratings. But until then, she is certain to utilize her influence and power to raise huge chunks of money to assist her in whatever her next step is.