PHOENIX — Supporters of public funding of elections made a last-ditch effort Tuesday to stop privately financed candidates from starting to load up on cash donations next week.

Attorney Joe Kanefield, who represents the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, told Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain that unless he intercedes, higher campaign donations limits will kick in Friday. And Kanefield said he knows several candidates, including gubernatorial hopeful Doug Ducey, who already have scheduled fundraisers for this coming week.

The difference is crucial. Political contributors are now limited to giving a maximum of $440 to a legislative candidate and $912 to a candidate for statewide office. The new law boosts the total to as much as $4,000.

But attorney Michael Liburdi, who represents the Republican legislative leaders defending the change, said lawmakers were within their right to alter the limits.

The immediate question for Brain is whether to delay the higher limits from kicking in Friday while he hears evidence pending a trial.