Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who's exploring a run for state attorney general this fall, has so far drummed up just $25,070 in donations, according to newly filed documents at the Secretary of State's office.
That figure stands in stark contrast to the fundraising of Thomas' chief rival, fellow Republican Tom Horne. Horne has already pulled in a staggering $210,163, according to his documents.
The forms were due today at the Secretary of State's office.
Now, it's important to note that the disparity isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. Thanks to Arizona's Clean Elections system, an unpopular politician like Thomas can still get full funding for his campaign. As long as he collects a certain number of $5 contributions, Thomas will get $183,000 in public financing for his primary campaign. (That's our money, folks!)
However -- and this is a big however -- thanks to a lawsuit from the Goldwater Institute, it looks increasingly likely that "Clean" candidates for attorney general, like Thomas, will be stuck with just that $183,000 for the primary.
Previously, "Clean" candidates used to get funds to match their privately funded opponents -- so if Horne raised another half a million dollars, Thomas would get just as much in public funds to "even the playing field." Not so anymore. Whatever Horne raises at this point is gravy; Thomas will probably have no way to match it once he agrees to run "clean."
It's also interesting to note that a "Clean" candidate like Thomas is allowed to raise up to $45,800 in "early contributions" before getting his public funding. Thomas isn't even close to that. One key reason? Some of his allies appear to be running for the hills -- and toward his Republican rival.
Case in point? Check out page 25 of Horne's report. There, you'll see a familiar name donating the max: Dennis Wilenchik. Yep, looks like Thomas' former boss -- and the one-time special prosecutor in charge of harassing New Times -- has seen the light and decided to support someone else!
Thomas has hung onto some of his longtime supporters, from Mr. and Mrs. Barnett Lotstein to Mr. and Mrs. Mike Scerbo to Rachel Alexander to Leo Beus. But we were shocked to see a certain "Rene Baca" on his contribution list -- yes, Rene Baca works for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, but Thomas and his minions are actually suing Baca's wife, Anna, for supposedly being part of a broad criminal conspiracy against him! (Since the donation was made before the stupid-ass suit was filed, we have to wonder if Rene Baca is now second-guessing his contribution.)
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Indeed, even before Thomas' nutty RICO suit and ridiculous charges against Judge Gary Donahoe, many people lined up with Horne instead. The schools superintendent lent his campaign $51,000, then raised another $153,778, with contributions coming in from developers, educators, lobbyists, and what appears to be almost the entire law firm of Burch & Cracchiolo, which was once a big Thomas donor. Also in the mix? Attorneys from Greenberg Traurig and Snell & Wilmer, some charter school owners, and even a few people who describe themselves as self-employed "veg growers." Interesting.
We hope Thomas isn't too bummed by his meager donor list. But hey, he got at least two sitting public officials to endorse him: freeway-pushing Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio and cash-paying real estate investor Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Don't you wonder what those two have in common? Beyond a love of real estate investments, of course ...