An Arizona conservative group released an ad Monday attacking GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey, alleging that Ducey has ties to attack ads from dark money groups that are smearing other candidates for governor.
The ad, funded by Better Leaders for Arizona, blasts Ducey over previous ads – particularly a May ad released by a conservative veterans group that criticized Jones’ praise of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton just months after a 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
The May ad attacking Jones was released by Veterans for a Strong America and produced by consulting firm DC London, which is run by Sean Noble, a Ducey ally.
“Doug Ducey fails to take responsibility for his dark money cronies smearing Christine Jones with false attacks,” the Better Leaders for Arizona ad states.
The ad goes on to highlight reports of franchise failure rates at Cold Stone Creamery, where Ducey, now Arizona’s state treasurer, once served as CEO. It also highlights reports of Ducey failing to pay property taxes in 2008 and 2009 and failing to appear in court for more than a dozen traffic violations.
“Doug Ducey uses fright groups to smear his opponents, while acts as if he’s above the law,” the ad states.
Melissa DeLaney, spokeswoman for the Ducey campaign, dismissed the allegations in the ad as “old news.”
“Voters can see through these kinds of contrived attacks and judge them for what they are — a regurgitation of claims lobbed by a liberal Democrat in the 2010 Treasurer’s race,” DeLaney said. “They didn’t stick then and they won’t stick now.”
Better Leaders for Arizona filed a trigger report for an $80,500 expense for marketing services with the Secretary of State’s office on July 1. The group reported roughly $5,000 cash on hand as of May 31, with roughly $10,000 in contributions solely from Friends of the Majority, a federal super PAC that spent almost $750,000 against Rep. David Schweikert in the primary contest between Schweikert and former congressman Ben Quayle two years ago.
But Virginia Simpson, a former Paradise Valley mayor and the group’s treasurer, said none of the money from Friends of the Majority went to pay for its electioneering activities in the governor’s race.
Simpson also said the contribution was an error, as the money was intended to go to federal races. The money was transferred to another PAC – the Washington, D.C.-based Congressional Leadership Fund – that engages in federal elections, Simpson said.
“This small amount was never utilized for any promotion or media activity by BLA, which undertook no advocacy activity until other funds were contributed for use in the 2014 gubernatorial race,” she said, adding, “BLA regrets and apologizes for the error.”