Tucson’s primary elections are Aug. 27.

Democrats Steve Farley and Regina Romero have each raised more than $200,000 this year in their bids to become Tucson’s next mayor.

The other two candidates for mayor, developer Randi Dorman, also a Democrat, and small-business owner Ed Ackerley, an unaffiliated candidate, lag behind in terms of fundraising with about a month to go before the Aug. 27 city primary.

Romero, a three-term councilwoman, narrowly beat Farley in terms of fundraising from April to the end of June, reporting to the city that her campaign brought in $135,641.

However, Romero received more than $98,000 in public matching funds from the city of Tucson during that same period.

The program matches every dollar received during the campaign period from any individual. Donations made by the candidate, political committees, corporations or other groups are not matched.

Since the beginning of the year, Romero has raised $211,798 and her campaign had more than $162,000 on hand at the beginning of this month.

Farley, a former state senator, raised $76,687 in donations from individuals — roughly double what Romero collected from individuals — as of June 30, according to reports filed with the Tucson City Clerk earlier this week.

Farley narrowly beat Romero in terms of total fundraising, bringing in $217,010 since launching his campaign in early January. His campaign reported it had $149,308 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Dorman, a local developer best known for building the Ice House Lofts south of downtown, had raised $76,687 by the June 30 reporting deadline.

Total donations into Dorman’s campaign lag slightly behind those of her two Democratic rivals, but she has raised $170,011 since getting into the mayoral race earlier this year.

Of the three Democrats, Dorman has spent the most in the last three months, slightly over $60,000 on campaign expenses — compared with $37,000 for Farley and $32,000 for Romero.

Still, Dorman had $79,953 left in her campaign coffers at the end of the month.

Ackerley took in $13,785 in donations. This includes a $1,000 loan he gave to his campaign.

At the end of June, Ackerley had $1,240 on hand.

While Romero frequently mentions on the campaign trail that she is the only clean elections candidate in the four-person race for mayor, political groups have largely shied away from donating directly to any of the candidates.

Only Dorman has received donations from political action committees, reporting to the city a total of $2,000 collected from PACs in the last three months.

She took $1,000 from the Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce as well as a $1,000 donation from Arizona List, a statewide network supporting pro-choice Democratic women running for office in Arizona.

Romero was also endorsed by Arizona List but declined to take the group’s check.


In the four-way Democratic race to replace Romero in City Council Ward 1, University of Arizona adjunct professor Lane Santa Cruz is well ahead of her three Democratic rivals.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Santa Cruz raised $52,249 by the end of June, a combination of contributions from individuals and public matching funds.

Sami Hamed, who works for SAAVI Services for the Blind, raised $14,734 in the second quarter, while consultant Miguel Ortega raised $11,367.

Rob Elias, who works for the Tucson Botanical Gardens as the director of marketing, brought in $8,233.

Republican Sam Nagy, who recently launched a write-in campaign for Ward 1 after scrapping his run for mayor, brought in $483 — mostly by shifting money leftover from his mayoral war chest.


Councilman Paul Cunningham, a Democrat who is asking voters for another term in Ward 2, raised $10,572 in donations in the last three months. His Republican rival, Ewart Williams, had not submitted a campaign finance report as of Thursday.


In the two-person race to replace retiring Councilwoman Shirley Scott in Ward 4, Air Force veteran Nikki Lee, a Democrat, has raised more money than her Republican rival, former Tucson Unified School District board member Michael Hicks. Lee reported taking in $26,179 by the end of June, a combination of contributions from individuals and public matching funds.

Hicks reported bringing in $5,640 during the same three-month period.

Primary winners will advance to the general election in November.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@tucson.com or 573-4197. On Twitter: @JoeFerguson


Joe has been with the Star for six years. He covers politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona. He graduated from the UA and previously worked for the Arizona Daily Sun.