Monday, October 29, 2012

Republican Victory Fund/Republican House Victory

A few months ago during the primary elections, we brought your attention to the Independent Expenditure called the Republican Victory Fund. This was a fund set up by Republicans in the legislature for the purpose of maintaining a Republican majority.  The money was never intended to be used during a primary election to support one Republican candidate over another.  However, the fund which is overseen by Senate President Steve Pierce and his campaign manager, Camilla Strongin, chose to donate upwards of $80,000 to support establishment candidate Rich Crandall over John Fillmore in the primary. 

A gross misuse of the fund's intent.

In an article from AZ Central titled "Primary Puts Arizona Senate On A More Centrist Path," Senate President Steve Pierce said,

"Sen. Rich Crandall's 4-point win over Rep. John Fillmore in the East Valley was key to ensuring the next Senate will remain focused on job creation and the economy...retaining Crandall was important, not only because of the Mesa lawmaker's focus on education, but because Crandall has focused on economic issues."

Makes you wonder exactly what kind of education and economic bills Pierce would introduce in the next session should he maintain his position as Senate President.  Would the bills have anything to do with Medicaid exchanges for ObamaCare?

As we pointed out in our previous entry, wasting $80,000 on Crandall during a primary meant that there would be $80,000 less to help elect Republican candidates in the general election.

What we have recently discovered is that Senate President Pierce and his counterpart, House Speaker Andy Tobin, are once again being very selective as to who they have chosen to help in the general election.  Are they only supporting those who would be a "vote" for them to retain their leadership positions in the legislature?

Again, a gross misuse of the fund's intent.

As a reminder, Senator Pierce's campaign manager, Camilla Strongin, is the Chairman of the Republican Victory Fund.  Also, Strongin's company, The Engaging Company, has received an astounding $137,000 in consulting fees which is more than a quarter of the total funds raised.  The Engaging Company has also received over $86,000 for "consulting" on Pierce's campaign.

The Treasurer of the Victory Fund is Hieu Tran.  Tran is also listed as the Treasurer for Steve Pierce's campaign and is the contact (email and address) for the House Victory Fund.  Tran has been paid over $1100 for accounting services from the House Victory Fund. 

We're sure that these connections are merely an odd coincidence.

Here are the abbreviations for the various Republican and Democrat Independent Expenditures who have poured an eye-raising amount of money into the election.  The ones in RED are the Republican funds and show how much money was spend in SUPPORT of the Republican candidate/s.  The ones in BLUE are the Democrat funds which show how much money was spent to DEFEAT the Republican candidate/s.  We are only going to show the Republican candidates.

RHV - Republican House Victory
RVF - Republican Victory Fund
AAP - Arizona Accountability Project (organization headed by Linda Somo who helped elect Bob Worsley)
AV - America Votes (organization affiliated with Campaign For Community Change who helped Jerry Lewis during the LD18 recall election)
RA - Revitalize Arizona (received help from Anita Dunn and Hilary Rosen's Company)

The Democrats are clearly targeting the Senate seat for District 6.  Considering the money Crandell has received from both the House and Senate IEs, will he (and the House candidates) be beholden to support the current leadership?

House - Barton/Thorpe
RHV - $32,600
RVF - $5400
AV - $6800

Senate - Crandell
RHV - $2700
RVF - $118,000
AAP - $146,000
AV - $14,400
RA - $20,700

Why is the Senate candidate not receiving ANY help from the Republican funds to counter the $110,000 spent by the Democrats to defeat Ortiz? Clearly, this seems to be a "win-able" district in the House given the lack of Democratic funding and strong RHV support, so why is the Senate candidate not receiving any aide?

House - Pratt/Shope
RHV - $57,200
AV - $8800

Senate - Ortiz
AAP - $116,000
AV - $14,000

Why would the ONE Republican candidate running for the House against 2 Democrat candidates receive $38,000  from the RHV (which is more than twice the amount of money Orr has raised for his campaign) while the Senate candidate has received nothing?  It's not as if the Senate Democrat candidate, Steve Farley, has had a lot of outside help.  He has only received $1800 in support from the IE America Votes. 

House - Orr
RHV - $38,900

Senate - Mott
AV - $3000

Why would the RHV fund outspend their Democratic opponents by a 5-1 margin in the House election while the RVF gave absolutely NOTHING to the incumbent Senator, Frank Antenori, whose opponent has benefitted from over $143,000 in help from outside leftist groups? Is it because Antenori might not be a vote for Pierce should he run again for Senate President?

House - Clodfelter/Vogt
RHV - $37,800
(Vogt also received an additional $20,800 from the RHV....nothing specifically went to help Clodfelter)
AV - $9200

Senate - Antenori
AAP - $40,000
AV - $14,000
RA - $93,000

The Democrats in this district have outraised the Republicans by almost 2 to 1.  While Democrats have not used any IE money, perhaps this might be a good use of the Republican IEs to counter the additional money the Democrats have raised.  Unless, perhaps, they would not be a vote for Pierce or Tobin? 

House - Gowan/Stevens

Senate - Griffin

Yarbrough had a last minute donation from the RVF on October 26th in the amount of $13,000.  This is curious since his Democrat opponent, Bill Gates, hasn't received any help from IEs nor have any IEs spent money opposing Yarbrough.  Is his vote for Pierce being bought?

Senate - Yarbrough
RVF - $13,000

Why have both the House and Senate candidates received help from the RHV and the RVF in this district? The Democrats spent less than $10k fighting the Republican candidates in the House. However, the Democrats are clearly attempting to defeat McComish.  Pierce knows that a McComish loss would mean one less vote of support.  To Pierce, ensuring a win in District 18 is critical, even if it means sacrificing a seat from, say, a District 10.

House - Dial/Robson
RHV - $40,000
RVF - $6400
AV - $9800

Senate - McComish
RHV - $5000
RVF - $132,000
AAP - $97,000
AV - $15,000
RA - $188,000

Yee just recently received help from the RVF after having already received over $22k from other groups yet the only opposition she has seen is $1400 from Planned Parenthood.  Why would Ms. Yee even NEED help?  The Democrats have another IE called "Building Arizona's Future" whose Chairman is State Senator David Lujan who has spent $70,000 attacking Mr. Seel. The best the RHV can do is $15,000? 

House - Boyer/Seel
RHV - $15,600

Senate - Yee
RVF - $12,000

The Democrats haven't spent any money to help their candidates in this district and the Republican candidates have outraised their opponents which implies it should be an easy win for Republicans. So, did the two Republican House candidates need $8000 for their campaigns?  Why has Rick Murphy not received ANY help in his Senate race? Maybe because Murphy complained that Tobin held his union bills?

It is worthy to note that Rick Gray's wife, Lisa Gray, is the Treasurer of his campaign.  She is also running for Maricopa County Republican Chair.  Take a guess what side of the Republican aisle she might represent.

House - Gray/Lesko
RHV - $8000

Senate - Murphy

If money was spent on a lone Republican House candidate in District 9, why is there no money to help the one Republican running for the House in this district?

House - Kaufman

Lewis has also received $46,000 from Steve Pierce's IE called the UA Friends for Arizona, $3500 from the Cattlefeeders, $1000 from the Farm Bureau and another $4500 from the Dairymen. Why is Lewis receiving so much help from IEs that generally support candidates who represent rural areas?  Lewis isn't running to represent Prescott.  Why is he receiving help from Pierce's IE whose donors are alumni of the University of Arizona when Lewis is representing a district that is home to ASU?  Why are Speakman or Taylor not receiving any help at all from the RHV?

House - Speakman/Taylor
AV - $9800

Senate - Lewis
RVF - $67,000
AV - $15,500

(We want to take the opportunity to inform and remind our readers that groups who supported Lewis' election during the recall are now shockingly donating to Democrats.  Such as, Las Adelitas who donated $350 to CBA during the recall and has now donated to Democrats in District 8, 9 and 10).

Alex Soto (L), Randy Parraz, Laura Dent (2nd from right)

There are two incumbent Republicans running against one Democrat for the two House seats. Did the RHV REALLY need to give $72k in a House race where the Democrats have spent only $600 in opposition? McGee's campaign finance statements show that she has received donations from the President of the Cattleman as well as countless other lobbyists. McGee was also endorsed by Jon Kyl. I think we know where this is going.

House - McGee/Reeve
RHV - $72,600
AV -  $600

This pattern of donations only makes sense if you were to look at it in the context of Steve Pierce and Andy Tobin's desire to retain their seats of power as President and Speaker of the House.  They are clearly using this money to not just help any Republican get elected, but only to help THEIR Republicans who, in turn, will help THEM maintain power.

They should rename the IE to reflect the REAL purpose:

Pierce Victory Fund and the Tobin House Victory.

We will update the numbers as they are reported.