PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is working to maintain his Republican state legislative majority with a fundraising committee originally used to promote a public pension reform measure.
Arizonans for Strong Leadership was formed by Ducey allies earlier this year and will now focus on legislative races, The Arizona Capitol Times (http://bit.ly/2cAtyDq ) reported.
“It was important for the governor to come in and do the things that campaigns typically can’t do themselves,” said J.P. Twist, a political adviser to Ducey, explaining that Arizonans for Strong Leadership will primarily spend money on television ads.
Ducey is focused on the state Senate, where Democrats hope to achieve a rare 15-15 split of the chamber by winning three hotly contested races.
In Legislative District 8, Democratic Sen. Barbara McGuire of Kearny is facing a strong challenge from Republican Rep. Frank Pratt. In District 28, Reps. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, and Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley, are fighting for the open Senate seat, and the District 18 race between Democrat Sean Bowie and Republican Frank Schmuck.
The group will also fund some digital advertising and grassroots efforts, according to Twist and the group’s executive director, Hooff Cooksey. Mailing and phone banking will largely be left to the candidates’ campaigns.
The TV spots for Districts 8 and 18 have a positive tone, and the only commercial to mention the Democratic candidate is that for Legislative District 28.
That ad contrasts Brophy McGee and Meyer, touting the Republican’s record of opposing tax increases and calling Meyer “much more liberal and partisan than you know.”
Arizonans for Strong Leadership reportedly has about $300,000 on hand and spent about $20,000 on its first week of ads in the three districts. More than half of that went to the race between Brophy McGee and Meyer.
“The governor’s going to raise and spend the amount that he thinks he needs in order to maintain victories in these races. There’s no predetermined amount, but he’s committed to spending a decent amount of resources in order to make a massive impact,” Twist said.
Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, http://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com