Kari Lake, who polls show has been beating her Republican primary opponents in the Arizona gubernatorial race by more than all of them combined throughout much of the race, substantially outraised Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democrats’ leading contender in the race, in the first quarter of 2022. Lake raised just under a million, $969,789.93, while Hobbs raised $748,126.94. This is significant considering Democrats have coalesced around Hobbs as their likely candidate, whereas Lake is facing a very divided primary which makes it more difficult to fundraise.
Democrats are mostly resigned to supporting Hobbs as their candidate for Arizona governor, despite the fact she admitted to participating in furthering systemic racism, by firing a black staffer which resulted in a $2.5 million dollar jury verdict. A Democratic insider told The Arizona Sun Times in January that the party was going to have to just deal with it, efforts to find a better candidate had failed.
Hobbs issued a press release after compiling her total fundraising numbers for 2021, nearly $3 million. But she hasn’t gained any momentum despite the party starting to coalesce around her; her first quarter fundraising is in line with the same rate she raised money last year. Lake has raised almost $2.5 million so far in the race, and has surprised the pundits with how well she’s done fundraising.
Her primary opponents are sucking up a lot of the cash, with former Congressman Matt Salmon raising just over $1.5 million total, and former Arizona State University Regent Karrin Taylor Robson raising almost $6.5 million, much of it self-funded. But they aren’t gaining momentum; Salmon pulled in less than half a million during the first quarter, and Robson only brought in $717,223 from donations — although she also gave herself $2 million.
Hobbs’ primary opponent Aaron Lieberman observed in January that she was already losing momentum by the end of 2021. “Katie Hobbs was telling supporters she had raised $2 million in July before I even got in this race,” he said in a press release. “If that was a true statement, her final total of $2.9 million reflects a dramatic slow down of her fundraising.”
Jonathan Soros, the son of left-wing billionaire George Soros, maxed out contributing to Hobbs, giving her $5,300 on February 17. Of Hobbs’ first-quarter contributions, $11,000 came from PACs. Emily’s List, which promotes Democratic women who support abortion, contributed $5,300. Fund Her PAC, which describes itself as “The only PAC dedicated to putting progressive women at the helm of local and state government,” contributed $5,300. The employee PAC from Young’s Market Company, a liquor distributor, contributed $400.
Of Hobbs’ expenses, three amounts were paid to Elias Law Group on January 31: $12,129.50, $4,409.13, and $11,696. That is the firm of Democratic lawyer Marc Elias, known for his election work with shadowy left-leaning nonprofit organizations that attempt to influence elections. He tried to get the Maricopa County independent ballot audit shut down last year. A large percentage of Hobbs’ expenses went for payroll. Hobbs said all of her top leadership were women of color.
Hobbs’ primary opponent Marco Lopez has raised just over $1.5 million total, and Lieberman has raised almost $1.5 million. Hobbs isn’t even bothering to debate them, declining to participate in the only televised Democratic gubernatorial primary debate. Polls show her 30 or more points ahead of her nearest Democratic opponent.
Hobbs will have significant hurdles to overcome in order to win the general election. She has referred to former President Donald Trump and his supporters as Nazis and neo-Nazis. She called both Trump and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio racists. Her campaign manager, State Senator Martin Quezada (D-Maryvale), tweeted that a Republican Arizona legislator who is Vietnamese-American is a “white nationalist.” A Data Orbital poll in February found that Lake was the only Republican candidate who could beat Hobbs in the general election.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kari Lake” by Kari Lake. Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Arizona Capitol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.