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Ducey raises more than $1 million for gubernatorial bid

$State Treasurer Doug Ducey entered the 2014 gubernatorial race with high fundraising expectations, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed.

Ducey announced on Monday that he’d already raised slightly more than $1 million for his exploratory campaign, and has $923,000 on hand. His campaign called the massive fundraising haul an “unprecedented amount” for an exploratory committee in a non-election year.

While political observers expect the well-connected Ducey to put Arizona’s new campaign contribution limits to good use – the limits are now $4,000, up from $912 – most of his contributions were under the old limits, according to the campaign. The campaign said 80 percent of the 1,000 contributors gave less than $1,000, and 40 percent gave less than $500.

However, the campaign said there is “substantial room for further fundraising” now that the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated the new $4,000 limit. The new limit went in effect in September, was blocked a month later by the Arizona Court of Appeals, and finally okayed by the Supreme Court in December.

Campaign spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney also said Ducey didn’t put any of his own personal wealth into the campaign. During his 2010 treasurer’s race, Ducey loaned his campaign $600,000.

In a press statement, he said he is grateful for the support he’s received.

“I’ve traveled to many corners of the state over the last several months and it’s clear that the vision for a stronger Arizona is resonating,” Ducey said in the statement. “Arizonans are ready to embrace a stronger economy, brighter education system and a leaner government, and I’m excited and ready to help lead us there.”

Campaign finance reports for the year-long reporting period that ended on Dec. 31 aren’t due until the end of January. Ducey is the first gubernatorial candidate to announce his 2013 fundraising numbers.

State law now considers the primary and general to be separate elections, and each has a separate contribution limit of $2,000, meaning any contribution that exceeds that figure must be partially saved for the general election. But if the majority of the money is within the old $912 limit, Ducey appears well-situated for his hotly contested Republican primary.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett, attorney and former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones, state Sen. Al Melvin and former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas are also seeking the GOP nomination for governor. In addition, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith is considering a run and said he will make a decision by mid-January.

On the Democratic side, former Arizona Board of Regents president and longtime political operative Fred DuVal is running uncontested for his party’s nomination.

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