Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CAVALRY CALL CONTINUES IN #AZ09: Realtors Drop $245K TV Ad For Rep. Sinema (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Following closely on the heels of the DCCC's (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's) $240K ad buy attacking Wendy Rogers, the GOP challenger to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9), the National Association of Realtors has joined the cavalry call, spending $245,000 on a positive TV ad supporting the first-term Congresswoman.

The NAR's PAC sent out some mailers praising Sinema before the primary election (Aug. 26), but this is its first expenditure since then.  The ad has not yet shown up on YouTube (to our knowledge), nor have any of the Phoenix TV stations placed their contracts in their FCC public files yet.

Arizona's CD9 has been listed by most experts as a "likely" win for Sinema, and outside money had not made a significant appearance in the East Valley-based district until the past few days.

The NAR will also now have the interesting distinction of being on the Arizona airwaves in a big way for one Democratic candidate (Sinema) and one Republican candidate (Doug Ducey for Governor); together with the Arizona Realtors and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the NAR has spent $600,000 on TV for Ducey.



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DCCC Cavalry Enters #AZ09, Spends $240K To Hold Back Rep. Sinema Challenger Rogers; $1.3M DCCC Week In AZ (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

New evidence that the Democrats may be afraid of a wave election sweeping away incumbent Representatives: for the first time, the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is attacking GOP challenger Wendy Rogers in #AZ09.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) has been ranked as "likely" to return to Congress, and has been using her campaign funds for strictly positive TV advertising.  Rogers went on the air with a splash a couple of weeks ago; no Republican outside money has entered the race... yet.

A DCCC filing this afternoon shows a $227,258 ad buy on Phoenix stations, starting yesterday.  The ad - with a $12,398 production cost - does not yet appear on the DCCC's YouTube channel, nor have any stations filed an ad buy report.

The same report shows a new $356,858 ad buy to support Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) in the toss-up race, and $732,646 in various expenditures supporting Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) in his hotly-contested, toss-up race.



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

OOPS UPDATE: APS *Only* Put $175K Into Arizona Attorney General's Race, Corrected Filing Shows (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The national Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") filed an amended IRS filing tonight, showing that Arizona Public Service *only* contributed $175,000 to RAGA to spend on TV ads hammering Felecia Rotellini's "dangerous views".

The quarter-million-dollar correction came in response to Arizona's Politics' article yesterday reporting that Saturday's initial filing showed an aggregate year-to-date contribution of $425,000.  Arizona's Politics noted (in the article) that previous filings had shown no more than the September 15 $175,000 check, and contacted RAGA to ask for a reconciliation of the numbers.

The amended filing was made at 5:21pm (Arizona Time) this evening, and RAGA has not (yet) responded to Arizona's Politics about the error.  (Arizona's Politics happened to be checking to see if RAGA or its Democratic counterpart had filed their pre-election reports.)


The overall contribution and expenditure totals for RAGA's 3rd quarter report were unchanged, and reflect a large advantage over DAGA.  Arizona's Politics has also reported on the 6:1 spending advantage, and on DAGA's filing earlier today spending $440,000.  The RAGA:DAGA Arizona spending is now 2.5:1.




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ARIZONA UPDATE: Natl Democratic AG Association - Playing Catch-Up - Drops $440K More In Anti-Brnovich Ads (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

The national Democratic Attorneys General Association ("DAGA") just spent another $440,000 on TV ads pounding Mark Brnovich, the Republican nominee for Arizona Attorney General.

The filing comes one day after Arizona's Politics' articles about how DAGA was being massively outraised and outspent by its GOP counterpart - nationally and in Arizona.  The articles note how much of the Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") advantage is built on $6.1M from dark money organizations, and the Arizona spend is partly underwritten by $175,000 from Arizona utility APS. (amount corrected, see 10/21 6:45pm urgent update)

The Arizona buy to support Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini totals $418,295 in ad time and $21,584 in production costs.  Currently, DAGA's Arizona arm, the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice and Fairness, is running a week-old ad focusing on Brnovich's past employment as a lobbyist for the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America.

RAGA also filed with the Secretary of State yesterday that it has spent another $39,000 on its fourth mailer hammering Rotellini.

RAGA's spending is now over $1.8M in Arizona; DAGA's is $727K (with another $450K from union-backed Revitalize Arizona).

RAGA deposited $2.5M in its Arizona account on September 4; DAGA waited until after September 16 to transfer money to GCCJF, so its budget will not be disclosed until next week.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

ARIZONA AG RACE: National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

(UPDATE, 10/21 at 2:30pm: DAGA and RAGA have both filed new Arizona spending reports, including another $440K spent by the former.)

In the Arizona Attorney General's race, the national Republican 527 organization is outspending the Democrats' by more than 6:1.  Dark money contributed mightily to that discrepancy, as RAGA raised 4 times as much money as DAGA in the 3rd quarter.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

One month ago, Arizona's Politics reported on the distinctions between the Republican Attorneys General Assoiciation and the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Significantly more unidentifiable dollars flowed into RAGA than DAGA.

That became much more obvious in the July through September period. RAGA collected $4.3M - $3.9M of that from two organizations that do not identify donors.  DAGA raised "only" $887,000 during that period - none of it from obviously dark money sources. (IRS filings are below the jump.)

As of today, RAGA's Arizona IE committee has spent $1,757,961 dollars on TV ads and mailers bashing Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini.  The most recent ad is here.  (Somewhat ironically, that ad even takes a swipe at its Democratic counterpart.)

Significant Arizona contributors to RAGA are Arizona Public Service's parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp - which has given $425,000, and Tucson auto sales titan Jim Click ($25,000).

Meanwhile, DAGA's Arizona IE committee - the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice and Fairness - has spent $287,665 bashing GOP nominee Mark Brnovich for his role as a private prison lobbyist.  The unions that help fund DAGA are also  running a $450,000 ad against Brnovich, through the local group Revitalize Arizona.  (Even with the latter, the outside spending discrepancy is 2.4:1.)

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

One month ago, the mega-campaigns by RAGA and DAGA prompted the initiation of Arizona's Politics' #50ShadesOfDarkMoney series, analyzing the disclosure of original sources of monies to independent expenditure efforts, and assigning each group a point on the dark money spectrum.  RAGA was assigned a pretty dark shade of grey: 35, with the following analysis:
2) RAGA AZ IE: Registered this month. 1st report will likely just show "RAGA" as contributor. RAGA formed earlier this year, discloses contributors to IRS quarterly. A significant portion - estimated at between 30-35% of RAGA's intake is from very dark money contributors, with some possibly filtered through multiple entities. SHADES OF DARK: 35
If anything, the 3rd quarter IRS filing could move RAGA a few shades darker.  Last month, we noted that RAGA received greater than 30% of its 2014 funds from dark money organizations.  This quarter's report is startling! RAGA took in $4.3M.  Of that, $3.9M - or, 91% - came from two dark money organizations.  The Judicial Crisis Network put in $2.6M and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added $1.3M.

That brings the dark money percentage of RAGA's 2014 monies to greater than 50% (approximately $6.1M of $11.7M).

(Using the current qualifying standard for social welfare groups - that they must spend more than 50% of their funds on so-called non-election-related causes - RAGA has now crossed the 50% threshold for being considered a DARK 527 organization.)

Thus, Arizona's Politics revises its 50 shades assessment of RAGA, and moves it to a 40 on the spectrum.

DAGA remains at SHADES OF DARK: 20.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

3rd quarter IRS filings for RAGA and DAGA are below the jump.  Go ahead, jump... if you dare.

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)


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BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

(UPDATE, 10/21 at 2:30pm: DAGA and RAGA have both filed new Arizona spending reports, including another $440K spent by the former.)

The parent company of APS - Pinnacle West Capital - is spending (at least) $425,000 telling Arizonans about the "dangerous views" of Democratic AG nominee Felecia Rotellini.

(See accompanying article on the total Arizona expenditures of RAGA and DAGA, and their spots on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum: "National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)")

While APS is widely-believed to be secretly spending large amounts of money on the Corporation Commission election, its $425,000 contribution to the Republican Attorneys General Association is the first (material*) political expenditure to be brought to light, after RAGA filed its quarterly report with the Internal Revenue Service last week.

Interestingly, the third quarter (July - Sept) report (below the jump) only lists one Pinnacle West $175,000 contribution, on September 15 - the day before Arizona's Politics reported on the $1.6M ad buy by RAGA.  However, it indicates that the aggregate year to date contribution is $425,000.

Arizona's Politics previously reported on the partially-transparent sources of funding of both RAGA and Democratic counterpart DAGA.  Embedded in that analysis are copies of RAGA's IRS filings for the first two quarters of 2014 - neither lists a contribution from Pinnacle West or APS.  Arizona's Politics is inquiring about the significant discrepancy, and will supplement this report as needed.

RAGA has blown past the reported $1.6M budget that it had for the Arizona race, perhaps because of the additional contributions by APS.  As of last Tuesday, RAGA has spent $1,757,961 in Arizona (TV and mailers).  The most recent ad hit the airwaves over the weekend, and is titled "Dangerous Views."

(See accompanying article on the total Arizona expenditures of RAGA and DAGA, and their spots on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum: "National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)")

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)

* Pinnacle West has contributed $5,000 to two related independent expenditure groups suppoting Republican candidates for the Arizona House and Senate. ("Senate Victory PAC" and "House Victory PAC")


Thursday, October 16, 2014

CAMPAIGN FINANCE COMPARISON: Rep. Sinema, Challenger Rogers Headed Into Homestretch With Same Cash On Hand

Despite raising three times as much money as her Republican challenger, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and Wendy Rogers headed into the homestretch of the campaign with roughly the same amount of cash on hand.

Sinema raised $619,163 between August 7 and September 30 ($850,000 for the quarter), according to her FEC report filed yesterday.  Rogers' campaign brought in $365,674 during the same period ($417,000 in the 3rd quarter).

The reason that the cash on hand numbers are nearly identical - $481K for Sinema, $455K for Rogers - is that Sinema began airing TV ads heavily during September, while the challenger waited until last week to go up on the air.  Sinema's disbursements were $1.0M in the 7 week period, while Rogers spent $128,000.

Since the election cycle began, the first-term incumbent has raised 3 times as much money as her challenger ($3.3M to $1.1M).

Compared to the two hotly-contested toss-up districts in Arizona (CD1 and CD2), outside spending has not started to flow in #AZ09 until the past week (House Majority PAC, against Rogers).  That adds more significance to the disparity between the candidates' campaign numbers.



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McSally Raises $1M In 5 Weeks; Challenger and Barber Each Had Roughly $1M In Bank Going Into Homestretch

GOP nominee Martha McSally blew an incumbent out of the water by raising $1M in the 5-week period ending September 30, and continued her streak of outraising incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) - she has now raised $4.8M in the campaign vs. Barber's $3.2M - yet both candidates have roughly $1.0M in the bank for the home stretch.

#AZ02 is one of the most hotly-contested House of Representatives seats in the nation, and it is rated as a toss-up.

Arizona's Politics presented the FEC's graphic summary of the candidates' quarters in this election cycle. (They battled to a near draw in the 2012 election.) Now, we can take a closer look.

Barber built up a fundraising advantage during the first half of 2013, when he was a new Congressman from a swing district while McSally toyed with the idea of a rematch.  $551k in the bank for Barber vs. $30k for McSally. (Barber started with approximately $85k left over from 2012, McSally had $20k.)

Since then, McSally has lifted off and has outraised Barber in every one of the five quarters since then.

The newest reports cover August 7 through September 30 - McSally blew out the stops, collecting more than $1M, compared to $675K by the incumbent.  (For the third quarter of 2014, the advantage was $1.4M to $0.9M.)

That said, both candidates have approximately $1M cash on hand, as of October 1.  McSally's count is $1,017,830; Barber's is $991,075.

Arizona's Politics likes to note that the amounts in the campaigns' war chests becomes somewhat less important in a battle such as this where outside spending is practically equal to the candidates.  To get a more complete picture, Arizona's Politics attempts to illuminate the outside spending - whether the sources are known or are staying "dark".

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COMPARISON: Kirkpatrick and Tobin Campaign Finances, With New Reports; Incumbent Spends 8X State House Speaker Challenger, Still Has $450,000 Advantage

Pending a deeper dive into the financial reports filed yesterday, Arizona's Politics presents a summary comparison of the new FEC reports filed yesterday by Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) and GOP nominee Andy Tobin.  (The comparative snapshots on the FEC's website are glitching.)

Rep. Kirkpatrick continued to outraise, outspend, and out-bank Tobin in the third quarter.  On October 1, Tobin's campaign's bank account was down to $376,424, while Kirkpatrick retained $820,115.

The cash on hand disparity was that great even though Kirkpatrick had spent more than 8 times as much as Tobin between August 7 and September 30. ($1,163,487 to $144,927)

Kirkpatrick raised $628,133 during the 7 1/2 week period, while Tobin collected $439,190.

As Arizona's Politics continues to emphasize, the importance of the candidate's campaigns - and, their financial disparities - shrinks in districts where outside spending (IE's) is flooding into the election.  #AZ01 is among the most competitive districts in the nation.



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VISUAL COMPARISON: Barber and McSally's Campaign Finances, With New Reports

Pending a deeper dive into the financial reports filed yesterday, Arizona's Politics presents an easy-to-read screen from the FEC ("Federal Election Commission").  First up, the pure toss-up #AZ02, a southern Arizona contest between 1+ term incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2), and GOP nominee Martha McSally (who narrowly lost the 2012 election). 

(Due to glitches at the FEC's website, the snapshot of Barber's reports is not yet available and had to be filled in from the report.)



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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

FIRST WATCH: Unions Airing $450K Ad Attacking AG Candidate Brnovich On Abortion; Ties Him To More Extreme Position Of Right To Life Org (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

Revitalize Arizona began airing a $450,000 ad attacking Republican AG candidate Mark Brnovich for his anti-abortion position, alleging that he "would turn back the clock for women".

The ad apparently aired a few times last week, although the $389,130 Phoenix market ad buy was (properly) disclosed last night to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office. That report indicates that $450,000 is being spent, in total, on the ad (presumably including Tucson airtime and production).

The ad notes that Brnovich has been "proud" to receive the endorsement from the Arizona Right To Life PAC, and that "they would make abortion illegal even in cases of rape or incest." Brnovich told the Center For Arizona Policy - a conservative social issues organization - that he thinks that there SHOULD be an exception for rape or incest.

The ad attempts to make the case that Brnovich would take action on his beliefs, by "let(ting) politicians interfere in women's most personal healthcare decisions."  The Attorney General can and does give opinions to the Legislature and does make determinations on how and whether to fight challenges to Arizona laws.

The Revitalize Arizona ad did not appear to be available on YouTube or through other online searches; however, an Arizona's Politics reader has been kind enough to send this video:

Arizona's Politics reported on Revitalize Arizona recently, when it ran an ad in the Democratic Congressional primary between Ruben Gallego and Mary Rose Wilcox. That article relied on older reports to note that RA's funding came from the national teacher's union, other unions and the Tohono O'odham Nation. A more recent report indicates that it had received all of its $314,000 (as of Sept. 15) from Residents For Accountability.  RFA's most recent report indicates that it has received most of its money (more than $507k of $821k) from the Arizona Pipe Trades 469 union.

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

Running funds through multiple organizations is generally designed to make the original donors less obvious. However, in this case, Revitalize Arizona/Residents For Accountability clearly receives nearly all of its money - on an ongoing basis - from a small group of unions, which generally rely on small contributions from many members.  RA/RFA currently receives a light gray shade of dark money - about a 15 on our scale
of 0 (transparent) to 50 (very dark).

We need your help! If you see an ad, mailer, sign, etc. that you think should be written about, send it to Arizona's Politics!  You might win some Diamondbacks tickets!
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

FIRST WATCH: $300K Outside Group TV Ad For David Garcia - GOP Nominee "Not Prepared" (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

A new outside spending group is dropping a $300,000 ad buy onto the low-key race for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, labeling GOP nominee Diane Douglas as "not prepared" and lauding Democratic nominee David Garcia's experience and bi-partisan endorsements.

"Restore Education Funding Now" (REFN) has released the ad this morning.


The ad currently has a $159,250 Phoenix run starting today and ending the day before the (November 4) election.  Additional airtime was likely purchased on Tucson stations but has not yet been filed with the FCC.  (The Secretary of State's Office filing indicates that $300,000 was already spent, total.)

REFN just formed and registered with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.  It has not yet disclosed any funding, and Arizona's Politics has inquired from those listed; an update will be filed when new information is obtained.  

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

FIRST WATCH: YG Network Drops $233K On Ad Hammering Barber & Obamacare; #50ShadesOfDarkMoney (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The YG Network, which was connected to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, disclosed today a $233,558 ad supporting Martha McSally in her bid to oust incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2).  The ad hits Barber for supporting Obamacare, and indicates that McSally wants to replace it with some new system that will "giv(e) our families more."



The ad apparently began running early Tuesday morning, meaning that today's report does not quite fall into the 48-hour disclosure window given by the Federal Election Commission.  It is slated to run through next Monday.

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

This is the first reported expenditure in the race by the YG Network, which was founded by ex-staffers of former Rep. Cantor. The YG Network, Inc. does not disclose its donors.  The only donation that has been uncovered was a $500,000 grant from the equally non-transparent American Action Network. (That 2012 grant was discovered in 2013 after AAN filed a return with the IRS, with original contributors blacked out).

YG Network receives a dark gray shade 45 on the Arizona's Politics' 50 Shades of Dark Money scale, for its lack of disclosure and for receiving what money is uncovered from other dark sources.

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CAUTION! Anonymous National Speculation Re: #AZ01, #AZ02 Ahead - "Fading Star", "Under Increasingly Grave Threat"; Why The Speculation Is Important (ANALYSIS)

Reporter Alex Isenstadt hit the front of the Politico website last night with an article titled "House homestretch: 5 key dynamics." Right there in the middle of the montage of 5 key photos is Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1). It immediately became a must-read for Arizona's Politics.

The article is entirely based upon the reporter's discussions with "strategists from both parties" who received the promise of anonymity.  Theoretically, that makes it reliable when a Republican strategist makes an anonymous comment that is not in the best interest of a GOP candidate, and it agrees with what the Democratic strategist said about the particular race.

With that in mind, Isenstadt's bipartisan strategists agree that Rep. Kirkpatrick is one of the incumbents "under increasingly grave threat" in her race against State House Speaker Andy Tobin. However, it acknowledges that even she is "not... a guaranteed goner".

The same strategists also label GOP challenger Martha McSally - one "of this year's most hyped candidates" - a "fading star", and that she is trailing incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) in southern Arizona.

Now, these strategists - EVEN WITH ANONYMITY - have reason to make what attorneys call admissions against interest, and should thus be taken with a grain of salt.  With less than one month before election day, they are playing with limited funds and have every reason to try to set traps for the other strategists that Isenstadt is speaking with or who are reading the article. (McSally's fading, says the GOP strategist? Maybe the DCCC will think we are going to scale back our ever-increasing ad buys, and it will, too.)

However, the reason that these anonymous indicators ARE IMPORTANT is obvious, too: Perception can become reality.  With outside groups playing an increasingly-large role in these elections, and with coordination between the candidates, the parties and the web of outside groups (theoretically) restricted, these "anonymous" signals become important. (American Action Network might divert some of its spending from AZ02 to AZ01 to help push Tobin over 50%.)

It will be interesting to watch how the flood of money into the two Arizona districts changes during the next few weeks.  We may not be able to assign a change to this article - or, even to the data that caused the strategists to make their comments - but, that never stopped a good strategist from  announcing a conclusion.  Anonymously, or maybe even under his or her actual name.


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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spends $250K On Jeb Bush For McSally Spanish Language Ad (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

Update, 4:45pm: The U.S. Chamber just uploaded an English language version of Bush's spot for Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner. It is very likely that it will do the same for the Bush-for-McSally ad. (Which makes much more sense than $250,000 worth of airtime and online time for a Spanish-only campaign.)

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported on the Spanish language ad by Jeb Bush to support Martha McSally in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District toss-up battle. Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce disclosed that it is spending $250,000 distributing the ad on TV and online.

The ad can be found here. The FEC report was filed this  afternoon, and brings the Chamber's total expenditure opposing Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) to just over $600,000.

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney Scale

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c )(6) trade association that religiously does not disclose donors.  It has had trouble in the past because it accepts monies from foreign entities, and  has had to provide assurances that it does not  allow such monies to  enter the money stream that it devotes to political spending in the U.S.  The grants to the U.S. Chamber that have been disclosed in the grantors' IRS filings are often from non-disclosing entities themselves.  Thus, the U.S. CoC gets a #50ShadesOfDarkMoney scale of 50, or as dark as they come.

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UPDATED, 1ST WATCH (w/transcript): That Didn't Take Long! Gabby Giffords Responds To NRCC With Twice The Firepower

(UPDATE, 5:55pm: Americans for Responsible Solutions disclosed tonight that it spent $89,422.10 (estimated) on digital advertising today. Presumably, that is for the ad below, and maybe the website. That brings ARS' total in the #AZ02 race to $1.2M.)

24 hours after the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) tried to coopt former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in an ad to hammer her hand-picked successor, Giffords has answered back with a 60-second speech/ad praising Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) and southern Arizonans.

The Americans for Responsible Solutions spot is titled "Fight For Us", and entails Giffords simply speaking - partly on camera and partly off camera - with upbeat music and video of Tucson and the surrounding area.



As Arizona's Politics noted earlier (on Twitter), the NRCC has now spent $1.65M in the toss-up CD2 race, and Giffords' and Kelly's ARS had spent $1.1M.  Arizona's Politics speculated that that would flip after yesterday's NRCC ad.

The FEC and FCC disclosures have not yet been filed, but it would not be surprising to see the 1/2 million dollar difference flip within 24 hours.

ARS has also apparently set up a special website to support Barber and hammer GOP nominee Martha McSally - www.AZCommonSense.


Transcript of "Fight For Us" (as transcribed by Arizona's Politics):

Giffords: Southern Arizona is a special place. We work hard. We cherish our land. We raise our families. We lead in research, in science. and we protect our nation.  We have our differences, but we stick together.  We expect our leaders to fight for us, not the special interests.  Ron Barber.  He's independent.  He's courageous.  And, most of all, he's Arizona through and through.


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1st WATCH: NRCC: Gabby's A Role Model, Barber's Not; Gabby's Response: Bull!; Giffords' Group Passes $1M In Barber's Defense (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") released a new ad yesterday praising former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as an independent role model, in order to slam her hand-picked replacement as the opposite.  Giffords promptly excoriated the GOP's attempt, and will undoubtedly step up efforts to re-elect Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2).

The NRCC's ad, titled "Follower", spends the first third praising Giffords - who served roughly the same district for 2 1/2 terms before retiring after an attempted assassination attempt and mass shooting that killed six and wounded 11 others besides Giffords and Barber.

It then slams Barber for voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker (Giffords had cast a symbolic vote against Pelosi and for civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, just before being shot) and for not voting for a GOP spending bill that would have increased some border security funding.

Giffords wasted no time telling Politico that the NRCC - or any other party or person, for that matter - "should think they can come to Southern Arizona and pretend to speak for me.”  The rest of her statement was as blunt in her praise for Barber: "“I work hard to speak, but it’s my voice. So take it from me: Ron is an independent leader in Congress, and no one will fight harder for our community.”

Giffords and husband Mark Kelly former Americans for Responsible Solutions, and re-electing Barber has been their top priority.  Last week, they spent another $200,000 on mailers for southern Arizona voters. That brings the total ARS spend on the district to more than $1.1M.  (The NRCC has spent $1.6M.)


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WATCH: Gov. Brewer's Commercial Supporting Michele Reagan For Secretary of State - "She'll Fight To Secure Our Border"

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is spending $90,000 airing a TV ad supporting Michele Reagan for the office of Secretary of State. The independent expenditure from Arizona's Legacy is among other efforts Brewer is making for Reagan and State House candidate Ethan Orr (R-LD9).

In the TV ad, which began airing occasionally last week, Brewer notes that she used to hold the office and that it is next in line to become Governor. (Brewer became Governor when Democrat Janet Napolitano went to Washington to become Homeland Security Secretary.)  Which partly explains why the first thing that Brewer tells viewers that Reagan would do is "She'll fight to secure our borders."



Here's the FCC filing by KPNX (Channel 12, Phoenix) showing a $50,000 buy through next Friday.

And, here is the rest of Governor Brewer's most recent independent expenditures.  Her Arizona's Legacy was particularly active in the contentious GOP legislative primaries, as she had promised to support Republicans who helped pass the Medicaid (AHCCCS) expansion as part of Obamacare.

Arizona's Legacy now has approximately $115,000 cash on hand.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.