Monday, October 15, 2018

BREAKING: DefendArizona Has Spent $13.7M On AZ Senate Race; Most Funding From Adelsons, National Funders

DefendArizona, the king of Arizona-centric Super PACs that has - literally - gone nuclear, has now spent more than $13.7M to try to tip the Arizona Senatorial race to Republican Rep. Martha McSally, with non-stop advertising against Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.

More than $8M of the funds - and, likely more than $11M - has come from the Senate Leadership Fund. That Republican leadership Super PAC is funded largely by mega-donors and casino owners Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.

DefendArizona filed its first major disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission tonight. Previous reports had shown most of its first million was raised from Arizona Republican stalwarts. Today's report (below) lists $8M coming from the Senate Leadership Fund, and a few other other national individuals making six-digit contributions.

The million-dollar-plus donors to the Senate Leadership Funds $50M+ bank account are shown in this screenshot from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Adelsons hold the top two spots there, with a total of $25M.

Arizona mega-donors are Randy Kendricks - an attorney whose husband is the managing owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks - and Robert Parsons (formerly of GoDaddy). Each had contributed $250k as of September 30.

The Senate Leadership Fund typically directly makes independent expenditures in targeted races. Funneling such a large percentage of its spending - approximately 15% - through a separate SuperPAC seems to be a new strategy for the SLF.

However, the national dominance of DefendArizona is clearly shown in its disbursements. Almost all of them are to consultants and firms in the DC/Virginia area. Small payments to Marson Media, Lovas Consulting and Richard Sales Media are the only Arizona payments.

Methodology note: The $13.7M of expenditures was calculated by using the $9.3M of disbursements shown in the third quarter report, and then adding the subsequently filed independent expenditure reports, through today.

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