Written by Josh Fried, Nate Schwartz, and Anjali Kumar

Today is Primary Day in Arizona. During the 2022 redistricting process, Arizona kept its 9 Congressional Districts but saw some geographical changes that made some districts more competitive, namely AZ CD-01 and AZ CD-02.  This year, we have seen over $159M spent on Arizona Primaries, almost seven times the spending we saw during the state’s 2018 Primary. Of this year’s total spend, $22M was on ATV. We saw spending across Senate, House, Statewide, State Legislative, and other down-ballot races. The Senate, Governor, and Attorney General Primaries saw the most spending across the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona’s 2022 Senate Primary is the most high-profile Primary in the state. So far, we have seen over $90M spent. In 2018, the Primary only saw $16M.  Incumbent Mark Kelly (D) is uncontested while the Republican Primary turned out to be extremely competitive. Businessman Jim Lamon leads in total spending by Republican candidates with $10.5M. Trump- endorsed venture capitalist Blake Masters is second with $2M. Retired military veteran Mark McGuire is third with $657K spent, followed by Mark Brnovich, the current State Attorney General, who has spent $173K.

Kelly’s ads have largely focused on local issues including small businesses and the impact of COVID-19. This ad, which ran from May through June, highlighted how Kelly’s office “cut through the red tape” to provide a small business owner a Paycheck Protection Program Loan during the Pandemic. Earlier this month, Kelly also ran a Spanish Language ad highlighting his efforts to suspend the Federal Gas Tax and to send Child Tax Credit checks to Arizona families. While Kelly has targeted his ads around pocketbook issues, candidate Jim Lamon has geared his ads around border security, “defunding the police”, his connection to Trump, and trying to claim that Blake Masters is a “big tech puppet”. Meanwhile, Masters made a joint appearance with Trump touting his endorsement. While Kelly has focused on local monetary issues, Lamon and Masters’ ads have gravitated towards national issues.

The Arizona Gubernatorial race is the second most expensive Primary in the state at $24M spent. Republican Governor Doug Ducey has endorsed Republican candidate Karrin Taylor Robson to succeed him in office.  Robson has spent $15M on broadcast, cable, and radio, with broadcast making up 77% of her spending. Republican candidate Paola Tulliani Zen, who coined the slogan “build back broke,” has spent almost $1M on advertisements. Her most notable ad targeted taxation with a total of 166 airings across the Phoenix market. In this gubernatorial election, former President Donald Trump endorsed candidate Kari Lake. Like we saw with Masters in the Senate Primary, the endorsement has not correlated to a spending advantage. So far, Lake has spent close to $845K on advertisements, significantly less than Taylor Robson.

In this historically red state, it is no surprise that Democratic candidates, Katie Hobbs and Marco Lopez, have both had lower spending totals. While Hobbs has surpassed Tulliani Zen in spending, with a total of $1.7M, Lopez’ spending totals $209K.

Issue group spending for this election has been quite expansive. Put Arizona First and Freedom’s Future Fund have spent a combined total of $3M. We have also already seen prebooking for the Gubernatorial General election. The Republican Governor’s Association has spent close to $10M, followed by the Arizona Democratic Party which has spent around $4M. With both primary and general spending combined, the Arizona Governor election has seen a total of $38M spent.

The only spending in the Attorney General Primary so far has come from the Republican side. Democrat Kris Mayes is currently running unopposed in her Primary. Meanwhile, six candidates are vying for the Republican nomination.  Four have spent money on the primary: Rodney Glassman, Andrew Gould, Dawn Grove, and Abraham Hamadeh. The leading spender is the former U.S Senate candidate Glassman, who has spent $2.4M. He has a decent lead on Dawn Grove in candidate spending; as she has spent $1.6M. The other two candidates, Gould and Hamadeh, trail the leaders with each spending around $550k. Hamadeh is the lone candidate to get a Trump endorsement.  Arizona Values has spent $120K on radio against Hamadeh. Americans for Limited Government has spent across the nation on a variety of high-level elections. They’ve spent $1.3M on this election supporting Grove.

Even though Glassman is the only candidate to spend on all media types, there are a lot of similarities between all of the candidates and their spending. The top two spenders, Glassman and Grove, have similar distributions of funds across broadcast, cable, and radio. The two others have almost identical spending strategies, with the sole difference being Hamadeh spending $36K on digital.

As the General Election begins, it will be interesting to see whether spending consistently increases across all 3 races or whether 1 race will disproportionately see more spending in the General than the others. While Arizona saw nearly $160M in total Primary spending, we have already tracked $117M pre-booked for General elections. Arizona will continue to be a high-profile state with more money being poured in as we near General election day this fall.

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