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Mark Finchem gets more of his campaign cash from outside Az than any other statewide candidate

Mark Finchem gets more of his campaign cash from outside Az than any other statewide candidate

  • Most Arizona candidates for the midterm election have received the majority of their campaign cash from Arizona donors.
    PixabayMost Arizona candidates for the midterm election have received the majority of their campaign cash from Arizona donors.

Mark Finchem, the Republican nominee for secretary of state, has been a minor player in Arizona politics since becoming a state legislator in 2015. But in the past two years, he’s built a national profile as one of the most ardent backers of baseless claims that the 2020 election was marred by widespread fraud — and that nationwide following is evident in his campaign finance reports.

It’s why Finchem is the only candidate for statewide office who has received the majority of his campaign cash from outside the Grand Canyon State. An Arizona Mirror analysis of campaign finance reports show that about 55% of the nearly $1.8 million that individuals have given to Finchem’s campaign have come from outside Arizona.

It’s almost a mirror image of the financial support for Adrian Fontes, the Democratic nominee in the contest. Fontes has raised about $2.4 million from individual supporters, with almost 61% coming from Arizonans and about 39% coming from outside the state.

Almost half of the out-of-state money Finchem raised came from three states: California, Florida and Texas, which account for 23% of individual contributions. But Finchem collected contributions from every state in the nation, as well as from Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. And one donor in the U.S. Virgin Islands even chipped in $5 to aid his campaign.

About 20% of contributions to Fontes came from California and New York.

Finchem began his ascent to national prominence in far-right politics shortly after the 2020 election when he began pushing false claims about election fraud in response to Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in Arizona and other key battleground states. He was a pivotal leader in the #StopTheSteal movement in Arizona, and soon became a fixture on right-wing media platforms, including Newsmax, One America News and Steve Bannon’s “War Room” internet show. 

The only other candidate who comes close to Finchem’s national support is Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the Democratic nominee for governor. Hobbs carved out a national profile in 2021, during the Arizona state Senate’s partisan election review, appearing regularly on national cable news programs where she condemned the so-called “audit” and pushed back against the debunked conspiracy theories that motivated it.

But unlike Finchem, Hobbs has managed to raise most of her money in Arizona: More than 55% of the $10.1 million she’s raised from individuals comes from people in Arizona, with the remaining 44% or so from the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. About 1 in 4 dollars that Hobbs raised came from California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington state.

Hobbs’ opponent, Republican Kari Lake, has lagged far behind in fundraising, receiving only about $7.3 million from individual contributors. But Lake has leveraged her high name identification in Arizona, where she was a television news anchor for 22 years, into a strong base of financial support in the state. Nearly 2 in every 3 dollars she’s received from individuals — about 66% of the total — has come from Arizona.

Nearly half of her out-of-state donors have come from Texas, California or Florida, accounting for about 15% of her overall contributions. 

In the contest for attorney general, the vast majority of the money raised by Republican Abe Hamadeh and Democrat Kris Mayes has come from Arizona residents.

Hamadeh, a political newcomer who emerged from a crowded GOP field in the primary after receiving an endorsement from Trump, has only raised about $871,000 from individuals — and 81% of that has come from within Arizona. 

And Mayes, a former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, has raised more than 70% of her $2.1 million from individuals in Arizona. About 15% of her campaign money has come from either California or New York.

This report was first published by the Arizona Mirror.

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