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Out-of-state money flows to AZ delegation

Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,  center, and  U.S. Reps Harry Mitchell, right, and Ed Pastor visit the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center Aug. 15, 2007, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and U.S. Reps Harry Mitchell, right, and Ed Pastor visit the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center Aug. 15, 2007, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

WASHINGTON D.C. – Arizona members of Congress have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from out of state, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

In the race for campaign cash, the eight-member House delegation raised at least $177,000 from individuals outside of Arizona and pulled in another $383,000 from political action committees during the past three months, the reports show.

Nearly 70 percent of the individuals who gave to U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor came from outside Arizona. A veteran member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Pastor received thousands of dollars from some of the largest lobbying firms in Washington.

In fact, most of the $4,250 Pastor raised from in-state sources came from those with government relations backgrounds as well. He received a $1,000 check from an executive at Aetna in Phoenix and cashed a $500 check from a lobbyist with the Tucson Electric Power Company.

More than three-quarters of the $71,000 Pastor raised between the beginning of July and the end of September came from political action committees. Though it’s not as if he needs the money; he has been re-elected easily since first winning his seat, and even if a strong Republican were to emerge in the heavily-Democratic district, Pastor has a bank account of $1.475 million with which to fend off a challenge.

Meanwhile, Rep, Gabrielle Giffords, in only her second term in Congress, has built a formidable warchest of her own. The Tucson Democrat has nearly $1.39 million cash on hand after raising $247,000 in the past three months.

Thanks to a fundraiser held on her behalf with Vice President Joe Biden, Giffords raised 67 percent of her money from individuals last month from outside Arizona. She raised another $85,000 from political action committees. While Republicans insist Giffords’ district is competitive – Sen. John McCain carried it in the 2008 presidential campaign – the shear amount of money she has available makes Democrats confident in her ability to hold the seat.

Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell, two more Democrats whom Republicans hope to give a tough race next year, each raised formidable sums through the end of September.

After raising $194,000 last quarter, Kirkpatrick has $550,000 in the bank, and she has yet to draw a challenger that national Republicans tout as a top takeover prospect. Former state Sen. Rusty Bowers joined the race recently, but he has not filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Mitchell, a Tempe Democrat, raised $162,000 last quarter to end September with $626,000 in the bank. He will face the winner of a primary contest between three Republican candidates. Political observers see former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert and Jim Ward, a venture capitalist, as the leaders in the race for the GOP nomination.

Kirkpatrick and Mitchell raised the vast majority of their individual contributions – 90 percent and 88 percent, respectively – from donors in Arizona. Kirkpatrick collected $88,750 from PACs, while Mitchell raised $64,000 from them.

On the Republican side, Rep. Jeff Flake is the member of Congress who raised the most of his money from out of state. Flake pulled in $90,415 for the quarter, including $47,975 from individual donors. Of those donations, $27,650, or 58 percent, came from out of state.

Rep. John Shadegg raised 94 percent of the money from individuals in Arizona, while 82 percent of Rep. Trent Franks’ individual donations come from his home state. But Shadegg earned 43 percent of his total contributions from PACs, while Flake took in just $7,000 from the committees – just 8 percent of all the money he raised.

Flake finished the quarter with $916,000 in the bank, more than either of his two Republican colleagues. Franks had $79,887 on hand, though he is still paying off loans he made to his own campaign; he is owed $304,000, the reports show.

Meanwhile, Shadegg, who had to be talked out of retiring before the 2008 election cycle, has indicated he will run for re-election in 2010. After a difficult campaign last year, Shadegg’s warchest is down to $189,000.

Democrats have yet to recruit a candidate against Shadegg. Franks and Flake, who represent much more conservative districts, are seen as safe by political observers.

-Reid Wilson is a staff writer for The Hill in Washington D.C. He is a regular contributor to the Arizona Capitol Times.

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