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2 GOP candidates dig deep into own pockets to secure Senate primary win

Nancy McLain

The Senate race in rural Legislative District 5 has become a high-dollar affair, with two Republican candidates collectively pumping in nearly $80,000 of their own money since June to bolster their attempts to win election.

Kelli Ward loaned her campaign $25,000, while Salvatore Scarmardo lent his campaign roughly $54,000, the most recent campaign finance reports show. Both are from Lake Havasu City.

Each also raised about $10,000 from other sources during the reporting period, which ran from June 1 through Aug. 16. The reports are due by the end of the day today.

Rep. Nancy McLain, a Bullhead City Republican hoping to switch chambers by landing the LD5 seat, raised a modest $12,550 during the same time period. But while McLain lagged in overall funding, the roughly $13,000 she had on hand at the end of the reporting period was more than either of her opponents.

All told, Scarmardo has raised nearly $86,000 in this race so far.

Ward, meanwhile, has taken in more than $128,000 — including $72,000 from her pocket — in this election cycle, easily dwarfing McLain’s total of $36,000.

Outside groups have also spent more than $35,000 in the race. Roughly two-thirds of that money has come from a group funded by the insurance industry to aid McLain, who is seen as vulnerable. She has served as the chair of the House Banking and Insurance Committee for the past four years.

The district includes all of La Paz County and most of Mohave County. It leans heavily Republican, which means whoever wins the primary will likely win in the general election.

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