Thursday, December 2, 2010

WRAP-UP CD1 - FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Conservative Groups Airlifted $2.4 Million Into Arizona To Send Gosar To Congress; 2-1 Advantage Over Incumbent Kirkpatrick

Arizona's Politics tried to pay close attention to the flow of national spending in Arizona's competitive congressional races, through our "Following Money In Arizona's Politics" series. 

Congressional District 1, encompassing much of northern and eastern Arizona, received much of that attention.  It featured a competitive district and a vulnerable Democratic incumbent.  Political newcomer Paul Gosar won the Republican primary and defeated Ann Kirkpatrick in the general.  The official canvass shows that the final tally was 112,816 (49.7%) to 99,233 (43.7%), and the Libertarian candidate Nicole Patti pulled 14,869 (6.5%). 

CD1 begins our series of post-election reviews of where the money came from. (Most of the information is collected from the Center for Responsive Politics - which compiles the required FEC filings.  However, totals here may differ from CRP's due to occasionally-confusing coding by the outside group's filings; Arizona's Politics has attempted to catch those (in?)advertent errors.  One more note: outside spending reports should be FINAL, as Independent Expenditure groups were required by law to file with the FEC within a day or two of spending; however, post-election reports from the candidates are not yet due.  We will produce a final report to include ALL spending on each campaign.

CD1 became a battleground district between the two major political parties early in the campaign cycle.  No matter who came out of the crowded GOP primary, it was nearly a given that the National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ("DCCC") were going to spend big (especially for a relatively rural district).  The final numbers show that both went over the million dollar amount, and the NRCC outspent the DCCC by more than $300,000 - $1,395,876 to $1,067,757.

However, other than a nominal $436 from the UFCW (union) and $32,668 from "Women Vote!" (EMILY'S List), no other outside money was spent supporting Kirkpatrick (or opposing Gosar)! 

On the other hand, Gosar benefitted from major advertising and polling (which no doubt helped drill down on potential supporters) assistance from the American Dental Association - $189,792; Gosar is a dentist by profession.  But, more than that, Gosar benefitted from three-quarters of a million dollars ($777,332, to be exact) spent by an apparently-coordinated network of conservative groups.  Most of that money was spent on television and radio advertising in the Flagstaff and Phoenix markets.

Here is the list of those national conservative groups, with the amount spent in parentheses: 60-Plus Association ($361,650), Faith and Freedom Coalition ($209,988), Americans For Tax Reform ($40,708), Super PAC for America ($89,794), National Rifle Association ($4,022), National Right to Life ($13,305), Revere America ($952), Susan B. Anthony List ($10,989), Trust In Small Business ($15,924).  (Of these groups, 60 Plus, Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Revere America do NOT disclose where their monies came from.)

BOTTOM LINE:  Gosar was the beneficiary of $2,363,000 (68.2% of IE $'s) spent by outside groups on independent expenditures;  Kirkpatrick benefitted from $1,100,861 (31.8%).  Gosar won by six percentage points.  (As of October 10 - last candidate filings - Gosar held an overall money advantage, too: $3.2M to $2.8M.  That seems even more remarkable: seeing an incumbent being outspent overall by an upstart challenger.)

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