Filler Statehouse Smackers

Examining The Campaign Contributions Of Legislative Candidates.
By J.E. Relly

AS THE WINNERS of the September 10 primary gear up for the November 5 general election, many are scrambling to replenish campaign funds depleted in the races. The most recent campaign finance reports, covering fundraising activity through August 21, show statehouse candidates have raised anywhere from $30 to $63,000.

In the GOP primary for the District 12 House seats, where incumbents Freddy Hershberger and Dan Schottel beat challenger Steve Huffman, all three candidates had spent about $8,000 by mid-August.

Huffman, who took a campaign pledge not to accept any contributions from political action committees, pulled in a respectable $12,585 and had spent $7,751 by the end of the reporting period.

Schottel raised $12,201 and spent $8,098, with about 45 percent of his contributions coming from PACs, including the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona ($270), Arizona Cattlemen's Association ($125), Phelps Dodge ($250) and Western Growers ($300). In addition to a contribution from Hershberger ($50), Schottel received support from outgoing District 4 Supervisor Paul Marsh ($125), unsuccessful District 1 Board of Supervisors candidate Sally Slosser ($125) and attorney Stan Abrams ($100).

Although Huffman didn't take PAC cash, he received a chunk from a gaggle of attorneys and small dribbles from the real estate community--primarily co-workers at Coldwell Banker. Huffman also took a $3,000 loan from a family member and spent only $347 less than Schottel on campaigning.

Hershberger's $28,244 warchest of contributors, many retired, also included Jim Kolbe ($100) and his campaign manager ($270), attorney Stan Abrams ($100), medical lobbyist Jack Jewett ($75) and the incumbent Schottel ($75). Western Growers ($300) and Arizona Licensed Beverage Association ($270) were among the PACs that contributed to 20 percent of her campaign stockpile. Hershberger spent $8,659 on her campaign, which included mailing 2,000 absentee ballots.

The only Democrat contending for a District 12 House seat is ophthalmologist and attorney Mark Osterloh, who says he's not "buying" his way into the Legislature and will run a low-budget campaign without taking any contributions. Osterloh served on a committee that drafted a proposal for campaign finance reform.

"I won't be having any big billboards like Dan Schottel," says the physician, who loaned his campaign only $1,000.

Running uncontested in District 12, Republican Sen. Ann Day raised $2,280, which she added to her previous campaign surplus, bringing her total warchest to $31,535. So far, she has spent only $3,008. Almost 45 percent of her contributions this time are from PACs.

In the north-central District 13 Senate race, House Minority Whip George Cunningham and Republican Dave Turner have raised nearly the same amount of cash, but Cunningham benefits from name recognition and a $38,275 surplus from his House run. Although Cunningham did not take any PAC money this campaign, according to the latest reports, his $63,207 warchest includes money from developers Don Pitt ($200) and William Estes, Jr. ($250), former U.S. Sen. Dennis DeConcini ($100) and former UA President Henry Koffler ($270).

As is common with political newcomers, Turner received only $300 in PAC money. He accrued $24,343, primarily through small contributions, with the exception of construction magnate H. Wilson Sundt ($270). Turner loaned $8,130 to his campaign and has already spent $17,821 on the campaign, while Cunningham spent $13,107.

Cunningham's decision to run for the Senate seat has sparked a fiercely competitive race for his spot in the House. With 31,102 Democrats and 32,011 Republicans registered in District 13, the race could be tight. Incumbent Andy Nichols put together $28,631 (with a $541 surplus from his previous campaign)--the largest amount raised by any of the District 13 candidates.

Nearly 21 percent of his contributions were from PACs, including the Sierra Club ($150) and the United Dairymen ($150). Nichols also received individual contributions from developer William Estes, Jr. ($200) and Arizona International Campus provost Celestino Fernández ($100).

Although Nichols has the advantage of incumbency, there's a real race for the other District 13 House seat, which is being sought by Democrat Brian Fagin and Republicans Scott Kirtley and Shane Wikfors. Fagin, an attorney who founded the Arizona Public Interest Group, has loaned his campaign $10,500. He's put together $14,817 and has taken only $50 in PAC money from Arizona NOW.

In the Republican camp, Kirtley, a private-school teacher, has garnered $6,759. One-third of Kirtley's contributions come from PAC sources, including the Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona ($270), Public Affairs Foundation of Estes Homebuilding ($100), Phelps Dodge ($150) and Del Webb Corporation Employees ($200). Although he had no primary challenge, Kirtley had already spent most of his campaign funds by the end of the reporting period.

Wikfors, who lost the District 13 House race two years ago, had managed to collect only $350 in contributions.

Across town in District 11, where the Senate seat is being vacated by retiring Peter Goudinoff, House incumbent Elaine Richardson proved it takes more than being a legislative fixture to pull in campaign cash. Richardson boosted her coffers to $22,667 (30 percent PAC), paling two-term Garcia's $2,205 account (56 percent PAC). Aside from the Public Affairs Foundation of Estes Homebuilding Co. ($250), individual contributions to Richardson's account include Dennis DeConcini ($100), Janet Marcus ($25), Sharon Bronson ($50), lobbyist Jack Jewett ($100) and attorney Stanley Abrams ($100).

Garcia, who has a full-time job as social services director for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, spent most of his time meeting constituents and said during the campaign, "Fund-raising is too time consuming."

Richardson spent $16,712 on campaigning, while Garcia spent $1,148.

In heavily Democratic District 11, Republican challenger David C. Morales faces Richardson in the general election. His campaign received more financial support than Garcia's, with $3,736 (7 percent PAC) in the bank, including the surplus from his last campaign. By the last report, Morales had spent all but $614.

The two District 11 primary winners raised all of their funds during the summer. Stanford grad Debora Norris, a small-business operator on the Tohono O'odham reservation, drew in $2,788 and has spent about half her funds. Carmine Cardamone lent his campaign $6,000, bringing his total to $7,815. He spent all but $296. Cardamone returned all PAC contributions.

Candidate Mike Price trailed in the primary vote for District 11, but deserves honorable mention for his fastidious campaign records, which listed a hat collection in Chiu Chu among the Tohono O'odham elders ($21.50), a cigar box collection at a local target range ($14.50) and a collection can for gun shop patrons ($12.40).

The low odds that a Republican would win a District 11 House seat haven't kept candidates Ora Mae Harn or Steve Benefield from jumping into the race, but the two are worlds apart in campaign fundraising. While former auto shop owner Benefield claims to have raised only $30, former Marana Mayor Harn has put together $4,260. At the end of the last reporting period she had spent only $333. Like any newcomer to the scene, Harn has attracted little PAC money, other than a $150 contribution from the Arizona Action Committee for Electrification.

Running unopposed in Democrat-dominated District 10 didn't keep Sen. Victor Soltero from raising $12,240 for this campaign. Coupled with $6,807 from his previous campaign, his account topped out at $19,047 (14 percent PAC). He's spent slightly less than half of his funds campaigning.

In the House race for the seats of retiring representatives Phil Hubbard and Carmen Cajero, Sally Ann Gonzales and Ramon Valadez's victory over perennial candidate Betty Liggins had nothing to do with campaign finances. Liggins, a retired nurse practitioner, put together $7,521, with a personal campaign loan of $2,300. She spent $6,778, while Gonzales, a University of Arizona program coordinator, raised only $757 and spent $539.

Politically connected Ramon Valadez hoofed it around the district and raised $9,015 from individual contributions. He spent $5,592 on his campaign. Valadez, who works in Pima County Supervisor Dan Eckstrom's office, received contributions from such notables as Dennis DeConcini ($100), Soltero ($100), Pima County administrator Chuck Huckleberry ($150) and investor Jon Kai ($270) and his wife Mamie ($100).

Gonzales and Valadez will be challenged in the general election by retired sheriff's deputy Bob Motta. The Cops for Christ member raised $1,447 and spent $1,215 on his campaign.

Senate and House District 14 incumbents are campaigning as a team. With a Democratic voting majority and name recognition, Sen. Ruth Solomon is facing little competition against Republican James Kisner, a Flowing Wells Fire District chief. Solomon has raised $39,413 (15 percent PAC), including a $21,176 surplus from her previous campaign. She's spent only $2,599. Kisner raised $1,120 and spent only $239.

In the House race, Herschella Horton, known for her exemplary environmental voting record, has raised more than any of the other district candidates. Horton had $38,674 (16 percent PAC) in her campaign coffers, including $9,715 from her previous campaign. She's not taking her incumbency for granted and has thrown $21,159 into campaigning, while Rep. Marion Pickens has spent only $2,233. Pickens raised $7,385 for this campaign and, with a surplus from her last statehouse run, her fund reached $10,236 (26 percent PAC).

Given District 14's Democratic majority, Republicans Sharon Collins and Chuck Josephson are hitting the pavement to raise cash in hopes of unseating the Democratic incumbents. Collins, the Republican nominee against Tucson Mayor George Miller in 1995, had raised a total of $5,693 and spent $2,432. Josephson had raised $3,030 (12 percent from PACs) and spent $1,296.

Notable contributors to Collins' campaign include fellow Republican Josephson ($50) and Rep. Schottel ($50). Josephson received contributions from constitutional-rights lawyer Ed Kahn ($50) and former Board of Supervisors candidate Sally Slosser ($40).

South of Tucson in District 9, uncontested Sen. Keith Bee has spent only $862 of the $12,412 raised by his campaign (which includes a $6,682 surplus from a former race). Nearly one-fourth of Bee's contributions are from PACs.

Republican House challenger Harold Vangilder, who lost the primary race, raised the hefty sum of $10,250, nearly as much as incumbent Rep. Lou-Ann Preble, who had raised a total of $11,829, including $5,386 from her previous campaign. Rep. Bill McGibbon had raised $17,404 ($6,762 from previous campaign). Both McGibbon and Preble will run uncontested in the general election. They've taken 32 percent of their contributions from PACs. TW

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