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Mills puts $2 million into gubernatorial campaign

Jeremy Duda//January 4, 2010

Mills puts $2 million into gubernatorial campaign

Jeremy Duda//January 4, 2010

Everyone knew Buz Mills was a man of considerable wealth, but no one was quite sure how much of it he was willing to spend in the 2010 governor’s race. With his initial campaign finance report, Mills took a big step toward answering those questions by putting $2 million into his fledgling campaign.

Mills filed his first campaign finance report of the season on Jan. 2, the first gubernatorial candidate to do so. The only expense listed for his campaign is $37,000 paid to the Symington Group for consulting services, leaving him with $2,030,503 in cash on hand at a time when other candidates are collecting seed money and $5 clean elections contributions.

Camilla Strongin, Mills’ consultant, said the infusion of cash is an indication of how serious the Paulden Republican is about his campaign.

“When you are going to ask people to write checks and support your candidacy, certainly your own ability to show your commitment I think is important. He’s serious about winning and campaigns are not inexpensive,” said Strongin.

Of course, just because Mills put $2 million into his campaign doesn’t mean he has to spend it all. Under Arizona election law, Mills can use the money to pay back his personal campaign debt. Strongin said she did not want to speculate about whether Mills is willing to put even more of his personal wealth into the campaign.

Mills, a former telecommunications magnate who now runs the Gunsite Academy, a tactical firearms training school in Paulden, filed an exploratory committee in early December. Strongin said there is no date set for an official announcement. Like the handful of other Republicans who have announced their intention to challenge incumbent Gov. Jan Brewer in the GOP primary, Mills is opposed to the governor’s call for a temporary sales tax increase.

“His platform is going to be pretty cut and dried – cut the overabundance of spending and get our spending in line with our revenue, and create more jobs so we can get people back to work,” Strongin said.