GLENDALE – Gov. Jan Brewer called the amount of personal finances and “dark money” spent on races this year “astounding.”
“I’ve never seen an election like that in the state of Arizona,” Brewer said after casting her ballot Tuesday at Hope Chapel in Glendale, her local polling place. “And certainly it had a huge influence.”
But the governor said she thinks that it may have amounted to overkill.
“And people started to push back,” Brewer said. “It was just too many robocalls, too many nasty ads, too many missed truths.”
And that, the governor said, did voters no favors.
“It gave the public a lot to sort through,” she explained.
“They had to dig really deep to get to the bottom and to find out just exactly what their candidates stood for,” Brewer continued. “It was unfortunate.”
Brewer herself contributed to some of that.
The most recent campaign finance figures show that Arizona’s Legacy, Brewer’s political action committee for statewide and legislative races, put $448,051 into various campaigns. That made it the sixth largest source of outside cash trying to affect the outcome of Tuesday’s Republican primary.
Leading the pack was the Arizona Free Enterprise Club with $1.67 million in spending, followed closely by Business Leaders for Arizona. Both spent heavily to affect who will succeed Brewer.
And Save Our Future Now put another $1.35 million into campaigns, mostly to influence the outcome of the race for the two seats on the Arizona Corporation Commission.
And that does not count the personal money in the race, led by the $5.3 million Christine Jones spent on her gubernatorial bid.
In January, for the first time since 1983, Brewer will not have an elected position. But the governor sidestepped the question of whether she will use her newfound freedom — and any influence she may still have — to push for changes in campaign finance laws before the 2016 election.
“Let me say this: I’m looking forward to having Jan Brewer’s voice back, not Jan Brewer the elected official, so that I can say and do what it is that I really want to do at the appropriate times,” she said.
One place Brewer did not spend her own PAC money, though, was to back Scott Smith, who she endorsed to be the GOP gubernatorial hopeful.
Brewer had said she would use what she called her “nest egg” to help Smith win the primary. But the governor acknowledged this morning that did not happen.
“I worked with Scott Smith and I worked really hard for him helping him raise money on his own efforts,’’ she said. “He did that and that’s the way they chose to go.”