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click to enlarge Victoria Steele

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Victoria Steele

Dialing for Dollars, Part 1

McSally dominates another fundraising quarter, but what's up with Victoria Steele's campaign?

Southern Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally had another titanic fundraising quarter, bringing in nearly $853,000.

McSally's fundraising machine is an astonishing thing to watch in action: Even before she was elected in 2014, she was one of the best congressional fundraisers in the country. She raises so much money that her accountants can barely keep track of all of it, as several amended FEC reports have shown.

Team McSally spends a lot of those dollars on that fundraising—in the last quarter, she reported expenses of just under $585,000—but she's still had more than $2.2 million on hand as of March 31 for her reelection campaign.

That kind of enviable warchest certainly puts McSally in a great position going into the 2016 race for CD2, which includes eastern Pima County and all of Cochise County. But McSally still has to worry at least a little bit about how the national mood will affect the 2016 race. (If she weren't worried about whether voters in CD2 will send her back for a second term, why would she be dodging the question of whether she would support Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket?)

The two Democrats who are vying for the chance to run against McSally had very different quarters. Former state lawmaker Matt Heinz raised nearly $205,000, as he has in previous quarters. (Heinz gave the campaign $11,648, which helped him clear that $200,000 benchmark.) He spent about $121,758 during the quarter, leaving him with just under $388,698 in the bank.

Bill Scheel, a Team Heinz campaign strategist, called the first quarter "another solid fundraising quarter for Matt, so we're happy. We think that Matt has established himself the de facto nominee at this point."

Democrat Victoria Steele—who has racked up an impressive series of endorsements, including the support of Congressman Raul Grijalva—continues to struggle on the fundraising front.

Steele reported raising just under $40,000—which was nearly as much as the $39,199 she spent. As a result, Steele had just under $45,000 in the bank.

It's certainly true that you don't need more money than your opponent to win a congressional race—but you do need enough to remain a competitive candidate, and so far, Steele doesn't appear to be hitting those benchmarks.

We also hear that Steele has parted ways with her campaign manager, Keith Rosendahl. The Skinny reached out to both Steele and Rosendahl to find out what's going on with the campaign, but didn't hear back from either of them before deadline.

Dialing for Dollars, Part 2

Chasing bucks in CD1

Over in Congressional District 1, the story is kind of reversed: The dominant Democrat in the race, Tom O'Halleran, is outraising the pack of GOP candidates who are vying for the open seat left by Congresswoman Ann Kirkpartrick's decision to jump into the race for U.S. Sen. John McCain's seat.

O'Halleran, who served in the Arizona Legislature as a Republican, raised $252,185.80 between the start of the year and March 31. He ended the quarter with just under $330,000 in the bank.

"We're thrilled that folks in Arizona are responding to our message to stand up for the middle class, protect Social Security and Medicare, and return a strong code of ethics to Congress," said O'Halleran in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the GOP side remains quite the fustercluck. There are now six candidates in the race:

• Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu reported raising $157,734 in the quarter and ended with $259,350 in the bank.

• House Speaker David Gowan reported raising $169,390 in the quarter and had $238,467 in the bank.

• Rancher and oilman Gary Kiehne, who narrowly lost the CD1 GOP primary in 2014, reported raising nearly $99,000 in the quarter, but that included $50,000 he loaned the campaign and about $8,000 he gave the campaign, so his actual contributions were closer to $41,000. Kiehne had just under $514,000 on hand at the end of the quarter.

Ken Bennett, the former Arizona secretary of state and state Senate president, reported raising about $80,000 in the quarter and had $195,000 in the bank.

Wendy Rogers, who ran for the CD9 seat in 2014, reported raising about $145,000 in the quarter and had about $100,000 in the bank.

• Political newcomer Shawn Redd didn't file any campaign-finance reports, according to the FEC website.

Dialing for Dollars, Part 3

The U.S. Senate edition: Kirkpatrick vs. McCain

In what is shaping up to be a competitive U.S. Senate race between Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain and Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, McCain came out on top, but not by much.

McCain reported raising nearly $1.3 million and had more than $5.5 million on hand at the end of the quarter.

McCain reported raising nearly $1.3 million and had more than $5.5 million on hand at the end of the quarter.

"The fundraising numbers this quarter prove that our campaign is continuing to build momentum and our message is resonating with voters across the state," said McCain in a press release. "From ensuring veterans receive the care they deserve to keeping America safe from the threat of ISIS to prepping the state for wildfire season, I am committed to addressing the most pressing issues facing Arizona. I look forward to the campaign ahead and talking with more voters from across the state about the challenges facing our state and nation."

Kirkpatrick reported raising more than a million dollars in the first quarter of the year and had more than $1.3 million on hand at the end of March.

"We're off to an amazing start this year, with more Arizonans and others from across the nation rallying behind this campaign every day," said Kirkpatrick in a statement to the press. "They know John McCain has changed after 33 years in Washington, and they're ready for a fresh voice in the U.S. Senate who will stand up for middle-class families, protect Social Security and Medicare, and put Arizona first again."

Campaign finance reports for McCain's GOP challengers, Kelli Ward and Alex Meluskey, were not available on the FEC website as of press time.

Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel airs at 8 a.m. Sunday on the CW Tucson, Channel 8 on Cox and Comcast and Channel 58 on Dish, DirecTV and broadcast. You can hear the show on KXCI, 91.3 FM, at 5 p.m. Sundays or watch it online at zonapolitics.com. This week's guests are meteorite hunter Geoff Notkin; Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall; and Courtney Frogge, a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives.

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