by Jeremy Duda
Arizona Capitol Times
April 16, 2012
Former Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny raised more money than his two opponents combined in the hotly contested Democratic primary for Arizona’s 9th Congressional District.
Cherny’s $431,000, which he raised in about seven weeks, dwarfed Sen. David Schapira’s $131,000 and left former Sen. Kyrsten Sinema in a distant second place in the fundraising race with $258,000.
With only about $40,000 spent so far, Cherny also has by far the most cash on hand. Sinema had about $154,000 left at the end of the reporting period, which ran from Jan. 1 to March 31, while Schapira had a little under $62,000 left.
“We feel pretty good. Andrei outraised the other candidates in Arizona and out of state. We have 168K more on hand than the other two candidates combined,” said Seth Scott, Cherny’s campaign manager. “We have fewer staffers on our campaign than the other candidates have. But we’re doing an awful lot.”
Cherny released his numbers nearly two weeks before the Federal Election Commission’s filing deadline, a common practice for candidates who expect to lead their races in fundraising.
Sinema touted the number of small-dollar contributions her campaign raised, and said 65 percent of her contributions came from Arizona. A Sinema spokesman would not comment on Cherny or Schapira’s fundraising.
“I am proud of the grassroots supporters of my campaign, who contribute by knocking on doors, introducing me to their neighbors and making a donation to the campaign,” Sinema said in a press statement.
Schapira, too, boasted of his campaign’s grassroots support. Political observers have long expected Schapira to rely on his strong base of grassroots volunteers to offset Cherny and Sinema’s fundraising advantages.
Schapira said his fundraising has suffered because he can’t devote as much time to his campaign as his two opponents. Schapira, the minority leader in the state Senate, has not resigned his seat in the Legislature. He also noted that state lawmakers are not allowed to raise money from lobbyists during the regular session.
He said his campaign will pick up once the Legislature adjourns, which he speculated would happen later this month. Until then, Schapira said he has a grassroots organization and name recognition in the district that neither of his opponents can match.
“The first quarter will be our lowest fundraising quarter of the election,” he said. “We will be running on all cylinders as soon as this legislative session ends.”
On the Republican side, businessman Travis Grantham led the pack, thanks to $190,000 he has loaned his campaign, on top of about $16,000 raised in the last quarter. Former Chandler City Councilman Martin Sepulveda raised about $64,000, former U.S. Air Force pilot Wendy Rogers raised $86,000, and Paradise Valley Town Councilman Vernon Parker raised about $29,000. Former Central Intelligence Agency operative Leah Campos Schandlbauer did not file her FEC report by the April 15 deadline.