In race to be Arizona's next attorney general, Republicans have big early cash advantage over Democrats

Tara Kavaler
Arizona Republic
Arizona Capitol building

Corrections & Clarifications: An earlier version of this article misstated which candidate had spent the most money in the attorney general's race in 2021.

Republican candidates are winning the early money race in the campaign for Arizona's next attorney general.

Attorney and member of the United States Air Force JAG  Corps  Rodney Glassman  raised, by far, the most amount of any candidate running for the specific office with approximately $1.27 million in 2021.

That's about half a million dollars more than the next Republican and more than three times as much as the top Democrat reported for last year. Campaign finance reports for the race were due Jan. 15.

"Arizonans want an attorney general who will fight back against Joe Biden, secure our border, and protect citizens from the overreach of the government," Brady Smith, a consultant to the Glassman campaign, told The Arizona Republic. "This financial report shows that Arizona Republicans know the candidate to do that is Rodney Glassman."

The second-highest fundraiser, former Arizona Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould, who was endorsed Tuesday by former Gov. Jan Brewer, raised about $754,000 last year. He also has spent more so far than any other candidate.

Dawn Grove, vice president and corporate counsel for Karsten Manufacturing, raised the third-highest amount in 2021 at about $432,000. Karsten Manufacturing is the parent company of PING, the golf empire that Grove's family created.

Lacy Cooper, who formerly served as border security section chief in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, raised the least of any of the Republican primary candidates at $114,000. She also has the least amount of cash left, after expenditures, of any GOP contender with about $48,000.

The newest entrant in the race, Republican Abraham Hamadeh, raised approximately $207,000 in two months.

"I entered this race in November as a first-time candidate and the only political outsider, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received," Hamadeh told The Republic. 

Eloy lawyer and cotton farmer Republican Tiffany Shedd raised approximately $354,000. Shedd, who ran unsuccessfully against Democratic Congressman Tom O'Halleran in 2020, also spent the second-most out of any attorney general contender at approximately $177,000 in 2021.

Democrats far behind on fundraising

Kris Mayes, a former member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, has raised the most of Democratic candidates with $364,000.

Attorney Bob McWhirter raised about $76,000 last year followed by former state Sen. Diego Rodriguez, who had about $47,000 by the end of December 2021. Rodriguez, who resigned from his position last year to focus on the attorney general's race, has the least amount of cash on hand out of any candidate for attorney general at about $2,300.

Contenders for statewide and legislative office do not have to report fundraising totals during nonelection years, and the first deadline was Saturday. Thus, many candidates for statewide and legislative office were in the dark about where they stand financially compared with their opponents.

Fundraising totals can give a better understanding of where candidates stand in the race, but the August primary is still many months away.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at tara.kavaler@arizonarepublic.com.