Arizona Senate race nets $61.5 million; Kelly One of America’s Top Fundraisers – Cronkite News
WASHINGTON — Arizona Senate candidates had raised more than $61.5 million as of March 31, led by Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Arizona, whose campaign contributions of nearly $39 million were the second highest in the nation among Senate nominees this cycle.
The latest reports from the Federal Election Commission show that Kelly had raised and spent more than his six challengers combined. But pundits still call Arizona’s race a coin toss, with Kelly grappling with a Democratic president whose declining poll numbers could hurt his campaign and attract millions from outside Republican groups who view Arizona as winnable. .
“Kelly obviously won’t be short of money, and he should have a huge advantage over his potential opponent,” Sabato’s Crystal Ball editor Kyle Kondik told the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
“However, money is far from everything in modern elections, and Kelly is expected to face a difficult political environment,” Kondik said in an email Monday.
Kondik pointed to groups like the Senate Leadership Fund, a Republican political action committee that said Monday it had earmarked $14.4 million in advertising in Arizona to begin operating in September, after the primary election. The Arizona purchase is part of $141 million the PAC said it would spend this fall on Senate races in seven states.
That kind of spending will help offset what is currently a sizable fundraising lead for Kelly, who an analyst says “shows no signs of slowing down.”
According to the FEC, Kelly’s campaign donations as of March 31 only tracked Sens. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., who has raised $67.6 million so far in the 2021-22 election cycle.
Kelly had spent just under $17 million and had about $23.2 million in the bank, according to her FEC filing. His challengers, by comparison, said they had raised $22.6 million and spent $11.5 million as of March 31.
Republican Jim Lamon leads the challengers with $13.8 million raised — but $13 million of that was a loan the candidate made to his own campaign.
Blake Masters was next among the GOP hopefuls, with $3.8 million raised and $2.3 million in the bank. But Masters has the support of his former boss, billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who invested $10 million for the Saving Arizona PAC, which was created to support Masters’ candidacy.
Former Arizona National Guard Adjutant General Mick McGuire said he raised just over $2 million, half of which was still in the bank. Attorney General Mark Brnovich was the only challenger to spend the bulk of what he raised, spending more than $2 million of the $2.5 million raised so far.
Brnovich cannot expect a boost from former President Donald Trump, whose support will likely separate a candidate from the crowded GOP field and has been eagerly sought after by most Republicans. Trump said Monday he would make an Arizona Senate endorsement “in the not-too-distant future,” but he devoted the majority of his statement to repeated complaints about Brnovich’s handling of the 2020 election investigations.
The campaign offices of Lamon, Masters, Brnovich and McGuire did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Jacob Rubashkin, political analyst at Inside Elections, said outside funding, like the Senate Leadership Fund, will help Kelly’s eventual challenger. But that help will only come after a party candidate is selected, while Kelly’s campaign said in a statement on Monday that it began advertising in February and has run two ads so far. .
Rubashkin called Kelly a strong fundraiser within the Democratic Party who is “setting the pace of fundraising in place for this particular cycle” and “showing no signs of slowing down.” But he said the current political climate favors Republicans, with President Joe Biden’s struggles in his first year in office creating “a hole for incumbent Democratic senators that is too deep to climb out of, even with tens of millions dollars in donor money”.
Biden had an approval rating of 41.8% nationally, according to the latest polling compilation from FiveThirtyEight, and an even lower approval rating of 40% in Arizona, where 55% disapproved, according to a March 30 poll by OH Predictive Insights.
But Mike Noble, managing partner at OH Predictive Insights, said while the environment is bad for most Democrats, Kelly is an exception. He said the company’s latest poll shows a generic Republican beating a generic Democrat in three races he tracks, but “Kelly leads against a generic Republican.”
“Whether you agree with Mark Kelly politically or not, he has proven to be out of this world in his fundraising prowess, and that will be key to his re-election,” Noble said. in an email on Monday.
But Rubashkin said Kelly will have to keep pushing if he hopes to be re-elected.
“At the end of the day, if you ask most people in this industry, ‘Would you rather have the money or the national environment?'” he said. “Most people these days would tell you they’d rather have the national environment.”