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Spending Surges in Arizona Gubernatorial Primary

Ryan Heinsius

Voters finally get their say today in what is likely the most expensive Republican gubernatorial primary in state history. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The most recent reports show Christine Jones leading the spending frenzy at nearly $5.6 million, virtually all from her own pockets. Doug Ducey listed $4.3 million in expenses including $2.9 million of his own money, with Scott Smith kicking in just $150,000 of personal cash for his $1.1 million campaign.

Frank Riggs was far behind at $200,000, while Ken Bennett and Andrew Thomas, running with public dollars, each got $750,000. But, that’s just the tip of the money iceberg, with voters overwhelmed with TV ads from outside groups.

Business Leaders for Arizona, funded by GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons, spent $425,000 to help Jones, a former GoDaddy executive, with a separate $1.5 million to keep Ducey from getting the GOP nod. But, other dark money committees refused to disclose their sources of cash even as they try to influence voters.

The 60 Plus Association spent close to $330,000 to deny the nomination to Jones and another $466,000 attacking Smith. Conservative Leadership for Arizona also won’t say who has provided $34,000 for attacks on Jones and $60,000 targeting Smith while putting $213,000 into pro-Ducey efforts. And, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club has spent another $150,000 against Smith.

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