Mark Kelly heads into election year with big cash lead over Sen. McSally
PHOENIX – In what’s shaping up to be one of the most expensive U.S. Senate campaigns of 2020, and the costliest in Arizona history, Democrat Mark Kelly continues to dominate incumbent Sen. Martha McSally on the fundraising front.
Kelly and McSally both closed out 2019 with their best hauls of the year, but the challenger outraised the first-term Republican by more than $2 million in the fourth quarter and has amassed a far larger war chest.
Kelly’s campaign on Tuesday touted a 2019 fourth quarter total of over $6.2 million, more than 50% higher than McSally’s announced total of around $4 million.
“This campaign took off like a rocket at the beginning of last year and hasn’t slowed down, and neither have the grassroots donors that are powering Mark’s Mission for Arizona,” Jen Cox, Kelly’s campaign manager, said in a press release.
“They know that Mark will take his experience as a combat pilot, astronaut and engineer to fight for issues that matter to our state.”
The Q4 totals track with the yearly numbers in the race, with Kelly taking in around $20.2 million in 2019 to McSally’s $12 million, according to the campaigns. The Federal Elections Commission database has not yet been updated with fourth quarter reports.
“Throughout the last year, liberals in Washington have spent millions on false attacks ads to try and defeat Martha. Their efforts to distract have not prevailed, as her fundraising numbers continue to grow,” Dylan Lefler, McSally’s campaign manager, said in a press release.
“Arizonans know she’s focused on what matters to them: lowering health care costs, securing our border and improving veteran services.”
Kelly reported that he’s heading into the election year with $13.6 million on hand, dwarfing McSally’s still-significant war chest of about $7.6 million.
Kelly’s polling lead isn’t as imposing as his fundraising advantage. In a December poll conducted last month by Phoenix-based research company OH Predictive Insights, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords held a 47%-44% lead, with 9% of likely Arizona voters remaining undecided.
With 10 months to go until the general election, the presumptive Senate candidates have raised a total of $32 million.
That’s well on the way toward topping the state record total of $48.5 million from the 2018 campaign, when Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema defeated McSally for the seat vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who didn’t run for reelection.
Despite the loss, McSally was appointed in December 2019 by Gov. Doug Ducey to the Senate seat formerly held by longtime Arizona political icon John McCain, who died in August.
Arizona’s 2018 Senate race was the nation’s sixth most expensive in terms of fundraising and fifth most expensive in terms of spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.