Top congressional candidates piling up big bucks

2014-07-16T08:00:00Z 2014-09-15T10:34:58Z Top congressional candidates piling up big bucksBy Joe Ferguson and Becky Pallack Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Federal campaign finance reports posted on Tuesday show money is pouring in to the hot Congressional District 2 race, where candidates have raised more money than the other two Southern Arizona Districts combined.

The four candidates in CD2 have collected more than $4.1 million between them since the campaign started. In CD1, the other hot Southern Arizona race, more than $3.2 million has been raised, while candidates in CD3 have a total of almost $460,000.

Those totals don’t include another $1.5 million that independent campaigns have dumped into the CD 1 and CD 2 races.

For the most recent federal reporting period, Democratic incumbent Ron Barber has continued to stockpile his campaign war chest, months before he even has an official Republican opponent.

He raised $558,954 in the last reporting cycle and has $1.56 million in cash reserves, according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Barber’s political rival in 2012, retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally, continues to lead in the three person field of Republicans vying to replace Barber.

McSally’s fundraising efforts outpaced both of her GOP rivals as well as Barber. Between the beginning of April and end of June, she raised $653,357 and now has $1.15 million in her campaign war chest.

She also spent the most in CD2 in this cycle — $343,459 — which included hiring additional campaign staff and airing a series of television ads in English and Spanish during the World Cup.

Both candidates received large influxes of cash from political groups interested in the district, which has been labeled as a tossup by the Rothenberg Political Report.

Political action committees and other groups gave Barber $183,201 in donations. Since the campaign started, he has gotten money from high ranking Democrats including Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer.

McSally also got a $140,350 boost from various political groups, including the political action committees of former Bush ambassador John Bolton and the Family Research Council.

Retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Wooten and small business owner Shelley Kais both spent almost as much as they raised in the last three months.

Wooten raised $20,343 in the three month period but spent $18,080, which left him with $3,430 cash on hand.

Kais received $11,284 in the same period, but spent $11,075. Kais has more in the bank than Wooten, with $13,313 in cash reserves left over from the previous quarter.

DISTRICT 1

The three Republicans in the primary race raised a combined total of $444,500 for this period.

Andy Tobin, Arizona House speaker, collected about $177,000. He brought in big donations from political activist David Koch, Tucson entrepreneur and major Republican campaign backer Paavo Ensio, Sinfonía HealthCare CEO and Rio Nuevo board chair Fletcher McCusker, Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals executives, and auto dealers.

Tobin spent most of the money on campaign staff and fundraising consultants, and he had $220,500 on hand at the end of June.

Rancher Gary Kiehne raised $193,000, which includes $150,000 of his own and his family’s money. Kiehne had $337,000 cash on hand, but also reported $300,000 in debts from personal loans to his campaign.

State Rep. Adam Kwasman raised about $75,000 and spent $51,000. He has $88,000 cash on hand but also reported $31,000 in debts, mostly from a personal loan to his campaign.

Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick has $1.3 million cash on hand headed into the last stretch of the primary race.

Kirkpatrick, who is unopposed in the primary, raised $421,000 in the second quarter, mostly from $254,000 political action committees and out-of-state donors, and she spent about a third of it.

DISTRICT 3

Incumbent Raúl Grijalva, a Democrat who does not have a primary challenger, raised and spent about $56,000 in the second quarter.

He’s drumming up support by using the recent appeals court decision on driver’s licenses for young adults who benefit from the federal deferred action program.

“Just imagine having a governor who isn’t constantly signing laws that end up being overturned by our court systems and costing Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars to defend injustices that make our state look backwards and intolerant,” he said in a fundraising email.

Grijalva has $108,000 cash on hand.

Republican activist Gabriela Saucedo Mercer, who is also running unopposed in the primary, raised $8,435. She had $3,449 on hand at the end of June.

This month Saucedo Mercer launched a new online fundraiser encouraging donors to give $20.14 to her grassroots campaign.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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