Kari Lake, Wendy Rogers among Arizona politicians earning cash in first quarter

As Arizona’s 2022 election begins to heat up, candidates reported Friday on their campaign fundraising efforts through the first three months of the year.

Even as the 2020 election recedes even further into the past, reports show that candidates in key races campaigning on voter fraud conspiracies continue to rack up money.

In the gubernatorial race, far-right former TV host Kari Lake, armed with the glowing endorsement of former President Donald Trump, has logged $969,800 in donations so far in 2022, much of it from individual contributions.

That’s an increase from his tepid fundraising numbers last year. For all of 2021, Lake raised $1.5 million, falling far behind other candidates. Now, she has picked up the pace and is beating Democrat Katie Hobbs and Republican challenger Karrin Taylor Robson.

Technically, Robson says he raised $2.75 million in the first quarter. But $2 million is his own money. Only $755,000 came from individual contributions.

Hobbs, who raised nearly $3 million in 2021, doubling Lake’s fundraising total, now trails both of his conservative opponents. She reported about $750,000 in donations in the first quarter.

The Democratic candidate and former mayor of Nogales, Marco López, for his part, reported close to $450,000 in the first three months of the year. Aaron Lieberman, a former state representative who is also running as a Democrat, has not yet released fundraising totals.

So, at least in the early months of 2022, Lake appears to be at the front of the fundraising pack in the gubernatorial race. Among other things, he has been militating on the border to do so. “We need his help,” he pleaded with his Twitter followers on Friday, asking for donations. “It’s up to us to defend our homeland.”

But Lake is also spending money fast. She spent more than two-thirds of what she raised, $650,000, in the first quarter.

That includes spending about $35,000 to rent Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club. The campaign has spent more than $86,000 on Mar-a-Lago events this election cycle.

Meanwhile, as Lake appears to be gaining momentum in the gubernatorial race, state Sen. Wendy Rogers, who is running for re-election in a newly redrew district, has lost some of her steam.

Rogers, who gained a national platform through his relentless promotion of election conspiracies, raised $2.5 million in 2021, far more than most candidates in the Arizona legislature. Most of those donations were from out-of-state supporters.

Yet this quarter, Rogers reported raising about $364,000, half of what he raised in the final quarter of 2021, when Trump’s endorsement and appearances in right-wing national media helped raise his profile across the country. .

Due to redistricting, Rogers is now in the same district as Arizona Senator Kelly Townsend, once his ally. The two will square off in a rural district that stretches from Cottonwood to Flagstaff.

Townsend has yet to release his first-quarter campaign finance reports, but so far he has fallen far behind Rogers on his numbers. In 2021, she grossed just $9,306.

Rogers’ campaign donations may be down, a bit, but his social media tirades are not. “If we save Arizona, we save the nation from godless communists,” she recently wrote on Telegram, just after claiming that the United States had seen a “biological weapon unleashed to steal an election and harm its people.”

Mark Finchem, another favorite of Arizona’s fringe right, also reported a lot of cash this quarter.

Finchem, currently a state representative from District 11 in Pima County, is now running for secretary of state, the office that runs Arizona’s election infrastructure, on a platform to “fix 2020.”

Finchem raised $277,000 this quarter and has raised nearly $1 million so far in the election, mostly from individual donations. So far, he is beating the conservative opponents of him. Republican Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita raised just $11,000 this year. Republican ad executive Beau Lane posted $144,000.

State Representative Shawnna Bolick, who represents parts of downtown Phoenix and Glendale, has not yet released her fundraising tally.

Two Democrats are running in the primary for secretary of state: incumbent state Rep. Reginald Bolding, who represents south Phoenix, and Adrian Fontes, a former Maricopa County recorder. Fundraising totals have not yet been released, but last year both raised less than Finchem’s $663,000 for 2021.

Bolding and Fontes raised $221,000 and $385,000 in 2021, respectively.

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