Two Republican candidates for Arizona governor who poured millions from their personal wealth into their primary election efforts last year were the top donors in the 2014 election.
A new national analysis of top five donors in each state shows former internet company executive Christine Jones and now-Gov. Doug Ducey topped the list for statewide Arizona races. The analysis done by the Center for Public Integrity was released Wednesday.
Also on the list was Jones’ former boss at internet domain company GoDaddy, Bob Parsons.
The others making the top five were the Republican and Democratic attorneys general associations. Those groups were backing their respective candidates in the general election, Mark Brnovich and Felecia Rotellini.
The analysis didn’t capture all spending and did not include ballot initiative campaigns or federal races for the House or Senate. For example, it does not count direct spending on a race — for example, money used to buy a TV ad that tells voters it was sponsored by the Republican Governors Association. Rather, it looks at donations to candidates and groups, who then use that money for such spending
It also doesn’t offer a complete bottom-line on donations and may not include some late-campaign or postelection contributions.
The six-way Republican primary race for governor featured two multi-millionaires, former Cold Stone Creamery CEO Ducey and Jones.
Jones, who was previously general counsel for GoDaddy, spent $5.4 million of her own money and raised just over $200,000. She said she didn’t want to be end up owing special interests asking them for large amounts of cash.
“I guess the short version of it is my priority in my race was to raise votes, not money, because never having been in office before, my biggest single strength was I was the candidate with no strings attached,” Jones said Wednesday. “And I didn’t want by virtue of donations to become beholden to any particular set of people or any particular issues or groups.”
She called it a “huge luxury” to have the personal assets available to communicate with voters rather than having to spend “all day, every day,” begging for money.
Ducey pumped $3 million into his winning effort. Most of that came in the primary election, where half of the $5 million he spent came from his own personal wealth.
Parsons donated $2.4 million, primarily backing Jones in the August primary.
In the attorney general’s race, the analysis shows the Republican Attorneys General Association donated $2.5 million to back Brnovich. The most recent state campaign finance reports show a higher amount, $2.9 million.
The Democratic Attorneys General Association donated $1.3 million backing Rotellini in her failed election effort.