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Dems hold financial edge in contested races

Many Republicans in highly competitive Senate races are facing a financial disadvantage going into the general election.

Unless Republicans catch up soon, this money gap makes Democrats very well-positioned to get their message across in the crucial last few weeks of the campaign season.

In north-central Pima County, for example, Democratic challenger Cheryl Cage nearly doubled the amount that incumbent Sen. Al Melvin collected, the latest financial reports showed.

Cage, who also challenged Melvin two years ago, also has more cash on hand – $71,000 compared to Melvin’s $45,000.

The area’s huge number of independents – nearly 30 percent – makes this district a perennial battleground; it has, in fact, swung like a pendulum in the last few election cycles.

A mere financial edge, of course, doesn’t assure victory, and political consultants have been saying Democrats have their work cut out for them this year.

Still, Democrats have proven to be adept at fundraising, or good at choosing their funding mechanism.

At the state’s southern border, Sen. Manny Alvarez of Elfrida is assured of about $21,000 in public financing as a Clean Elections candidate in the general election campaign, even as his opponent struggled to match his war chest.

In comparison, Republican Gail Griffin, a former House member who is challenging Alvarez for the Senate post, only raised $9,500 so far.

Griffin has a little more than $6,000 in the bank.

Like most competitive areas, Legislative District 25 has a sizable population of independent voters and a close voter registration gap between Republicans and Democrats.

In Yuma, both Sen. Amanda Aguirre, the Democratic incumbent, and Don Shooter, the Republican challenger, are running with public financing and will roughly have the same amount to spend in the general election – a little more than $21,000.

Libertarian Jack Kretzer, meanwhile, hasn’t really done much fundraising.

Closer to the Capitol, Democrat Justin Johnson has significantly outraised and outspent Sen. Linda Gray, the Republican incumbent who is running with public financing.

Johnson, the son of former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson, has collected $107,000.

Gray will have $21,000 to spend in the general election as a Clean Elections candidate.

While she won’t have as much money to spend as Johnson, Gray, however, has benefited from $2,500 in independent spending; $75 was also spent against her.

The voter make-up in Legislative District 10, which straddles Phoenix and Glendale, makes this area a true swing district, as Democrats, Republicans and independents nearly evenly split the votes here.

Of the five competitive Senate races that the ~Arizona Capitol Times~ has identified, the only Democrat who is facing a financial disadvantage is Rep. David Schapira, who is running for the Senate in Legislative District 17, which takes in most of Tempe and part of south Scottsdale.

Republican candidate Wendy Rogers has raised $84,000 and has about $45,000 in the bank, according to her latest financial report.

Schapira, who is running as a Clean Elections candidate, is assured of $21,000 in public financing for his general election campaign. He has benefited from $150 in independent spending so far.

No financial reports are available for Green candidate Anthony Goshorn and Libertarian Garret Chartier-Dickie, who are also running for the Senate in this district.
LD10
Justin Johnson, Democrat
Raised: $106,597
Spent: $41,891
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

Sen. Linda Gray, Republican
Raised: $39,405
Spent: $18,383
Independent expenditure for: $2,464
Independent expenditure against: $75

LD17
Wendy Rogers, Republican
Raised: $83,772
Spent: $39,076
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

Rep. David Schapira, Democrat
Raised: $40,018
Spent: $19,055
Independent expenditure for: $154

Anthony Goshorn, Green
No report available

Garret Chartier-Dickie
No report available

LD24
Sen. Amanda Aguirre, Democrat
Raised: $37,496
Spent: $16,017
Independent expenditure for: $154

Don Shooter, Republican
Raised: $24,904
Spent: $6,664
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

Jack Kretzer, Libertarian
Raised: $429
Spent: $105
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

LD25
Sen. Manny Alvarez, Democrat
Raised: $38,408
Spent: $18,541
Independent expenditure for: $154

Gail Griffin, Republican
Raised: $9,534
Spent: $3,144
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

LD26
Cheryl Cage, Democrat
Raised: $102,571
Spent: $31,612
Independent expenditure for: $154
Independent expenditure against: $0

Sen. Al Melvin, Republican
Raised: $55,866
Spent: $10,962
Independent expenditure for or against: $0

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