Hobbs, Lake each spent more than $1M on Arizona governor race in 2021
PHOENIX – The Democratic and Republican front-runners in Arizona’s race for governor each spent more than $1 million on their campaigns last year, according to the first required campaign finance reports.
However, Democrat Katie Hobbs held a big lead over Republican Kari Lake in cash on hand with the August primaries less than seven months away and the general election three months later.
Saturday was the deadline for Arizona candidates to report last year’s campaign income and expense numbers.
Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, reported raising more than $2.3 million in 2021 and having a cash balance of more than $1.4 million. Both figures are higher than the combined reports for her two Democratic competitors, former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez and former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman.
Lake, who has been embraced by former President Donald Trump and his followers, wasn’t even the top fundraiser from her party in 2021, although the Republican campaigns that reported more income received significant infusions via self-loan or self-contribution.
The former Fox 10 news anchor took in more than $1.4 million from nearly 12,000 contributions, with no self-funding, but her spending left her with a cash balance just under $375,000. Her expenses include more than $50,000 in payments to Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida, where she held a fundraising event in November.
Republican Steve Gaynor, a businessman who lost to Hobbs for secretary of state in 2018, led all gubernatorial campaigns in income (more than $5 million) and cash balance (nearly $4.7M), but only about $8,600 of his haul came from sources other than his own pocket.
Three other GOP gubernatorial campaigns entered 2022 with more money in the bank than Lake, two of which were largely self-funded.
Former Arizona Regent Karrin Taylor Robson reported income of about $3.7 million, with $1.95 million from self-loans. She had nearly $3 million cash on hand, second only to Gaynor, after receiving more than 130 individual contributions at the maximum level of $5,300.
Former U.S. Rep. Matt Salmon took in nearly $1.2 million from about 800 contributions and had a cash balance of over $491,000.
In something of a surprise, Paola Tulliani Zen, founder and former owner of La Dolce Vita Biscotti, reported more than $1.1 million in income, almost all out of her own pocket and all but about $25,000 still unspent.
Republican Kimberly Yee reported raising over $500,000 as a gubernatorial candidate but announced recently she’d decided to run for reelection as state treasurer instead.