Open Secrets: Big money spurs on an intense Arizona midterm race
Big money is rolling into Arizona as a dramatic cast of candidates duke it out for Senator Jeff Flake’s seat in the upcoming midterms. Nearly $310,000 has been spent by super political action committees(PACs) in the elections, much of it coming from big money interests like GOP mega-donor Robert Mercer.
Super PAC spending can change the tenor of tight primary elections like Arizona’s, said Tara Malloy, senior director of appellate litigation and strategy at Campaign Legal Center. Candidates with less direct funding can be “kept alive by their billionaire backer,” Malloy said. “A candidate whose spending is on life support can be somewhat resuscitated by outside spending,” she said. Instead of support and funds coalescing around one front-runner, Malloy said, primaries can start to get messy with a larger crowd of primary contenders who would have normally been pushed out of the competition. Malloy cited the 17 candidates in the 2016 Republican presidential primary as just one example. “Their campaign would have been dead if it was just popular support,” she said. “Now they get to fight on.”