The Wallets Come Out As The District 3 Supervisor Race Hits The Final Stretch.
By Jim Nintzel
A FEW WEEKS ago, real estate broker Bill Arnold, chairman-turned-bagman for Republican Vicki Cox-Golder's campaign for the Board of Supervisors, made quite the subtle pitch.
Addressing a one-page blanket fax simply to "real estate brokers," Arnold took issue with rival Democratic candidate Sharon Bronson's hard line on impact fees.
"How many fewer sales are you going to make if Sharon gets elected?" Arnold asked. "You can't afford to ignore this election! Please call me if you have any questions, need donation envelopes or need checks picked up."
Such is life in the fiery District 3 race between Bronson, Cox-Golder and incumbent Supervisor Ed Moore, who's running as an independent. As the race enters the final days, the wallets are coming out and the squeeze is on.
In the last few weeks, Moore has dumped $19,000 of his own money into the campaign, opening the door for Bronson and Cox-Golder to accept individual contributions beyond the normal $270 limit until they raise the $19,000.
For Bronson, it's meant she could return to some maxed-out contributors for more money--vital to her campaign if she's going to raise her name recognition in a race that has primarily focused mud-slinging accusations between Cox-Golder and Moore. Bronson, had raised $47,554 through October 16.
All three candidates are dropping mailers and scrambling to buy radio and TV time.
Moore had to lend the money to his campaign because, as of mid-October, the incumbent supervisor had raised only $20,595 and spent $12,524. He's been forced to follow through on an earlier promise to finance his own race since his previous benefactors in the Growth Lobby have thrown their support behind Cox-Golder.
Last week, a much-rumored independent campaign committee finally got off the ground on behalf of Cox-Golder. The Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Association of Realtors jointly created the Committee for Pima County's Future, which is buying radio ads to blanket the airwaves with Cox-Golder's name.
A second independent campaign committee, the Pima County Democracy Project, has been set up by Mike Hellon, Arizona Republican National Committeman. Partially funded by the Arizona Republican Party, Hellon's committee has been hitting households with mailers attacking Moore.
Independent campaign committees, which aren't allowed to coordinate strategy with a candidate's campaign, aren't bound by the same $270 limit that applies to candidates. Four years ago, a similar campaign committee, run out of the Pima County Republican Party, spent about $56,000 to support Moore's win against Democrat John Kromko.
Formed after October 16, the Committee For Pima County's Future won't have to file a list of contributors until December 5.
The shadowy committee has hired the Phoenix-based January Group to handle its media campaign. The political consulting organization is headed by Michelle January, wife of Charles "Chuck" Coughlin, a former aide to Gov. J. Fife Symington III. Coughlin has recently joined with another former Symington aide, Wes Gullet, to form HighGround, a high-powered political consulting firm with a reputation for hardball politics, particularly when doing demolition work for Symington.
The independent campaign committees are bolstering Cox-Golder's already formidable fundraising advantage. By October 16 Cox-Golder had raised a staggering $82,000 and spent nearly $70,000.
As with her previous reports, Cox-Golder's latest list of contributors is riddled with contributions from the Growth Lobby, including homebuilders, brokers and car dealers.
IN OTHER BOARD races: In District 1, Republican Supervisor Mike Boyd has raised $89,208 and spent $81,928--about 10 times the amount raised by his opponent, Democrat Wayne Bryant, who has received nearly $9,000 in contributions and spent more than $8,000.
In District 2, Democratic Supervisor Dan Eckstrom has collected $79,947 in contributions and spent $39,215. His opponent, Republican Ray Clark, reported raising $805 and spending $650.
In District 4, Republican John Even has raised $75,385 and spent $67,565. Even should easily crush Democrat Craig Runyon, who hasn't turned in his last two campaign finance reports, and Libertarian Ted Glenn, who has raised only $2,410 and spent $1,792.
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