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Leff wins big with matching funds ruling

While much of the attention has been focused on the gubernatorial race since a federal court upheld matching funds, another candidate for a statewide race also is likely to benefit from the opinion — Sen. Barbara Leff of Paradise Valley.

Leff, who has previously run traditional campaigns and has consistently proven to be an effective fundraiser, is the only Clean Elections candidate in a four-way Republican contest for state treasurer.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Andrei Cherny, who also is running a traditional campaign.

Leff said she decided to run with public financing because, by the time Treasurer Dean Martin announced he would not seek re-election, it was too late for her to raise enough money from private donors. Plus, she said, Cherny had proven to be an effective fundraiser.

Cherny’s campaign had raised about $350,000 in 2009, according to campaign finance reports.

“I felt that if matching funds stayed then in this particular situation being able to get those matching funds was just the smart, practical thing to do,” Leff said.

Leff’s decision looked even wiser after Doug Ducey, a former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, jumped into the Republican primary race. Ducey, who is running as a traditional candidate, is expected to raise a lot of money.

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