Mark Kelly Has Monster Fundraising Quarter, AZ GOP Still Doesn't Have a Candidate

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

One of the most important races involved in any hope the Republicans have of regaining control of the Senate is happening here in my native Arizona: Democrat Mark Kelly vs Republican…oh yeah, there isn’t anyone yet.


I wrote a post in late May detailing why Kelly isn’t as vulnerable as many conservatives outside of Arizona think he is. A lot of that had to do with the overwhelming fundraising advantage that he has against the as-yet unnamed Republican he’ll be facing. I knew Kelly was going to rake in a lot, but it’s even worse than I thought it would be.

NBC News:

Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s campaign says it raised $13.6 million in the second fundraising quarter of 2022, a staggering sum for one of one of the party’s best fundraisers ahead of a pivotal Senate re-election.

The $13.6 million means Kelly has raised $52 million so far this cycle, Kelly’s campaign tells NBC News. The senator closed June with $25 million in cash on hand, and his campaign says 97 percent of their donations were of $100 or less.

In the immortal words of Scooby-Doo: “Ruh-roh.”

I got raked over the coals by some commenters (there were nasty emails too) in May for saying that Kelly was in good shape for November. My reasoning then is the same as it is now.

People who mostly follow politics via digital and social media don’t really grasp the power that television and radio ads still have in elections. Older swing voters — there are a lot of these here in Arizona — aren’t hanging out online. They’re still swayed by mailers and ads.


Mark Kelly can buy all of those that he wants. I don’t watch any local television but I’ve already been seeing Kelly ads pop up online and I’ve also heard some radio spots when I’m out in public.

The other huge problem is that the Arizona primary is still almost three weeks away. While Kelly is counting cash with his grubby gun-grabbing fingers, his eventual opponent is still busy spending his money trying to beat other Republicans. That also means that one of the Democrats’ “best fundraisers” has almost a third of a quarter to amass more cash before he even knows who to lie about during the election.

How the Arizona Republican party got suckered into this late primary date remains a mystery to me. The party didn’t hold a primary in 2020 (Trump was unopposed) and the Democrats held theirs in March. The early August primary seems like an idea that could have come directly from Kelly’s campaign when the huge advantage it gives him is considered.

I’m not saying that this is a done deal for Kelly. He’s one of the biggest liars in a party full of them and he’s running on a two-year (he was elected to fill out John McCain’s term) record that isn’t reality-based. There is a good chance that all the money in the world won’t be able to buy him enough lipstick to put on the pig that is the Biden economy and get him re-elected.


There’s also the fact that the current Republican frontrunner is Blake Masters, who is a protégé and close associate of billionaire Republican supporter Peter Thiel. He’ll no doubt have access to more quick fundraising channels than any of his opponents would. Donald Trump will be giving Masters some face time at the rally he’s holding up Prescott this weekend. That might get GOP voters here treating Masters as a done deal for the primary victory, which would be very helpful.

Still, the power of older, moderate swing voters (this is a purple state now) being wowed by a steady diet of “I’m an astronaut!” commercials from Mark Kelly should not be poo-pooed.

I look forward to your cards and letters.


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