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GOP governors group dwarfs Dems in fundraising

Gov. Jan Brewer speaks to a room of supporters after early returns from the polls showed Proposition 100 prevailing by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. (Photo by Josh Coddington)

Gov. Jan Brewer (File photo)

The Republican Governors Association appears to be paying a lot more attention to Arizona than its Democratic counterpart.

The RGA has about $1.2 million in its Arizona political action committee, compared to just $4,500 in the Democratic Governors Association Arizona PAC, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Most of the DGA’s money is left over from the 2006 election cycle.

In contrast to Arizona, the DGA has been throwing its financial weight around in other states.

In Nevada, the association put a half-million dollars in gubernatorial hopeful Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. In Iowa, the DGA invested about $1.5 million into incumbent Chet Culver’s reelection. And according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, the DGA has already spent $150,000 this year on Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.

The DGA’s lackluster financial support in Arizona could be a bad sign for Attorney General Terry Goddard, who hopes to oust Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in November. Goddard campaign spokeswoman Jeanine L’Ecuyer said she doesn’t think the PAC situation is indicative of the DGA’s commitment to Arizona.

“Does it speak anything? Nah. We’re all still in the primary and we know now what the general election is going to look like,” L’Ecuyer said.

When the RGA put $1.2 million into its Arizona PAC in February, the governor’s race appeared up for grabs – Brewer was struggling and facing a serious challenge in the GOP primary, while Goddard, who is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, led in most polls. But Brewer’s numbers have shot up since signing Arizona’s strict new immigration law in April, forcing her top primary challengers out of the race. Goddard hasn’t fared any better, and some polls show him trailing by as much as 20 percent.

The RGA is now using Brewer for fundraising. A page on the association’s website features a portrait of the governor and urges people to donate and “stand with Arizona,” and the RGA sent a fundraising email from Brewer to supporters after a federal judge blocked major portions of SB1070 from going into effect.

DGA spokeswoman Emily Bittner declined to say what kind of support Goddard would get from the association.

“There are numerous ways we can – and intend to – be active, but we don’t talk publicly about our political strategies,” she said.

As the end of the last campaign finance reporting period on June 30, the DGA hadn’t contributed money to any other PACs or independent expenditures in Arizona either. Bittner would not say whether the DGA had any plans to do so.

The RGA was equally vague about its plans for Arizona, but spokesman Mike Schrimpf’s few comments probably inspire a little more confidence than his Democratic counterpart’s.

“Gov. Brewer’s strong leadership has her well-positioned for the fall and we are confident she will have the support she needs,” Schrimpf said.

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