Democrat Ron Barber has raised more than twice as much as any of his GOP challengers in the special election to fill the former congressional seat of Gabrielle Giffords.
Barber, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, brought in $549,132 through the end of March, according to new finance reports that were due at the Federal Election Commission by Thursday.
That's significantly more than the four Republicans vying for their party's nomination:
• Dave Sitton - $260,550
• Jesse Kelly - $210,348
• Martha McSally - $133,097
• Frank Antenori - as of 8 p.m., no report filed.
Avoiding the rigors of a contested primary has allowed Barber to save most of his funds. He has spent less than his Republican opponents, leaving him significantly more money for the fight ahead.
Through March, Barber had spent $85,428, leaving him $463,704 cash on hand.
Totals for the Republicans:
• Sitton has spent $128,297, leaving him $132,253 cash on hand.
• Kelly has spent $180,270, leaving him $49,375 cash on hand, with $30,000 of that off-limits until the special general election.
• McSally has spent about $108,000, leaving her $26,000 cash on hand.
• Antenori had not filed.
Charlie Manolakis, who is running unopposed for the Green Party nomination, had not filed.
Barber will soon know his GOP opponent - the Republican primary is April 17. The special general election is June 12.
Before the campaign heated up, many analysts believed Giffords' endorsement made Barber a favorite in the special election because of the good will she's earned in the community. His wide lead in campaign funds bolsters that theory.
Barber, Giffords' longtime district director who is making his first run for public office, has also decided to run for a full term in the newly drawn Congressional District 2 later this year.
More than one-quarter of Barber's donations, $154,500, came from political action committees, including $126,000 from Act Blue, an online political action committee that allows people to donate to any Democratic candidate across the county with a click of the mouse.
Most of the donations through Act Blue, about $119,000, came in from Feb. 9-19 in the first 10 days of the campaign, the report shows.
Barber received contributions from a total of nearly 3,300 donors, with about 40 percent of them giving less than $200.
Barber received $2,750 in cash and $1,250 in in-kind donations of lists and supplies from Giffords' leftover campaign funds.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, also donated the maximum of $5,000 each, with $2,500 for both the primary and special general election.
Other notable donors to Barber's campaign include:
• Senate candidate Richard Carmona, $500.
• Lisa Lovallo, Cox vice president, $250.
• Mel Zuckerman, founder and chairman of Canyon Ranch, $1,000.
• Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, $500.
• House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. ($2,000); Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. ($2,000); and Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas ($1,000).
None of Sitton's campaign contributions came from political action committees. Ninety-five percent of the people who donated live in CD8, his campaign said. He received donations of $200 or more from 272 people.
Notable Sitton donors include:
• University of Arizona alum and Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno and his wife, Carole Moreno, $5,000 each, with $2,500 for both the primary and special general election.
• Automotive executive Jim Click, his wife, and their two children donated $2,500 each, combined total $10,000.
• Former UA athletic director Jim Livengood, $250.
• Tucson businessman Don Diamond, $2,500.
• Rosemont Copper CEO Rod Pace, $2,000, with another $1,000 combined coming from two other Rosemont Copper vice presidents.
Most of Kelly's contributions came from the 121 individuals who donated $200 or more. He received $16,500 from political action committees, $10,000 of which came from Citizens United Political Victory Fund.
Kelly brought in $24,000 from family members and other employees in the family construction business, Don Kelly Construction.
He also received $20,500 from the Gleason family of Tucson. Christopher Gleason is the CEO of Cristobal Enterprises Inc.
Kelly has received $30,000 in donations for the special general election, leaving him with just $19,375 to spend in the primary.
McSally filed her report, but as of 8 p.m., her detailed report had not been posted by the FEC.
His campaign spokesman, Brett Mecum, said he did not yet know the total raised through March.
On StarNet: Go to live.azstarnet.com to read transcripts of online chats with CD8 candidates.
CONTRIBUTIONS AND DISBURSEMENTS
Candidate Money raised Money spent
Ron Barber (D) $549,132 $85,428
Jesse Kelly (R) $210,348 $180,270
Martha McSally (R) $133,097 $108,000
Dave Sitton (R) $260,550 $128,297
Frank Antenori (R) Did not file as of 8 p.m. Thursday
Source: Federal Election Commission
Contact reporter Brady McCombs at email@example.com or 573-4213.