LD18 Senate – By The Monies

The battle between Russell Pearce and Kevin Gibbons got us curious so we decided to pull the latest financial reports (accessible via the Secretary of State’s website) for both candidates.

Kevin Gibbons June 30th Report
Russell Pearce June 30th Report

This really is an unusual race just given the fact that the incumbent, Russell Pearce is running under the “Clean Elections” financial system and the challenger, Kevin Gibbons, is running under the traditional means of campaign finance. Usually, the challenger runs under “Clean Elections” because it is very difficult to raise money when taking on an incumbent. This is actually one of the positive unintended consequences which has benefitted newcomers to the political process because it has allowed them to bypass asking the establishment big-money donors for money when challenging the establishment’s incumbent candidates. However, in this race, it appears the roles have been switched as Gibbons, the challenger, has managed to win the support of big-money establishment donors while Pearce continues to cling to his grassroots supporters.

Based on who’s giving to Gibbons’ campaign, this race boils down to one issue – immigration. Notable donors to Gibbons’ campaign include Marion “Mac” MaGruder, Ross Farnsworth, Andrew Pacheco, Merwin Grant, Heather Sandstrom, Doug Pruitt, Steven Barclay, Scott Perkinson, Claudia Walters and seven political action committees. As this blog also pointed out, Gibbons’ campaign also received money from the former chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party (Jim Pederson) and Yuma Democrat and State Representative, Lynne Pancrazi.

One will also notice that Gibbons has received plenty of money from donors who reside in Yuma – one of Arizona’s major farming hubs which relies on migrant labor.

Because Russell Pearce is running as a “Clean Elections” candidate he can only take $5 donations so his report shows only what he has received in seed money. Those donors include Fred Ash, David Childers, Thomas Jacobs and Janie Thom.

However, what is most surprising is the huge disparity of both campaigns when it comes to money. Kevin Gibbons has raised a whopping $66,220, spent only $3,494 leaving a cash-on hand balance of $62,725!

Pearce on the other hand entered the race with $24,381 at the beginning of the reporting period. He then raised $2,308 for the period, $24, 031 leaving him a cash-on-hand of $2,658 in the bank.

If money is an indicator of where a political race is headed, there could be trouble for the Pearce campaign, especially if the Gibbons campaign does not trigger a Clean Elections disbursement to the Pearce campaign. Timing will play an important factor in this race and with early voting scheduled to begin the first week of August, both campaigns will be looking for the “whites of their eyes” before pulling the political trigger.


  1. The number of Yuma donors is a question but the amount is more interesting. Everyone from Yuma gave the max and it included spouses. The Growers’ PAC then gave even more on top and not to mention their possible independent expenditures. The Yuma growers want to get rid of Pearce, bottomline. Even LD 24 Republican House Candidate Russ Jones gave to Gibbons. Many of the same donors gave to the so-called Stop Illegal Hiring initiative also.

  2. Just WIn Baby says

    Flawed analysis as it shows the remains of Pearce’s Exploratory Committee for Congress. Pearce hadn’t gotten his clean elections money as of that report. When he gets it, he’ll get almost $20k, then get matched up to about $60k.

  3. No, not flawed analysis. The issue here is timing. A clean elections (CE) candidate does indeed get matched but sometimes it is too late to put the money to good use. A lot of damage could be done by someone running traditional before CE triggers and dumps money into the campaign coffers of a CE candidate. Remember that a CE candidate cannot encumber the campaign until the money is authorized/disbursed by CE. At that point, they can go out and start racking up A/P to respond to a hit. In the case of Pearce, he will receive the money in time but Gibbons could have comittments lined up without triggering another CE disbursement. This is why CE vs Traditional races are such a timing issue.

  4. AZ Cowboy says

    How can i donate to Pearce? He is my absolute favorite, although I do not live in his district. His website has no way to donate that I can see.

  5. Prince E. Puld says

    Let’s get this straight. Gibbons raises traditional money while Pearce, an tax-hating incumbent, uses tax payer money to finance his campaign. Sounds like half of Pearce’s money comes from Dems! Pearce is nothing but a hypocritical welfare candidate. He’s the food stamp candidate. A real man would not use tax payer money when he’s gone on record opposing it. Do the right thing Russell – forego the tax payer’s money and run traditional.

  6. Preacher's Kid says

    Hey, Pudd, pull it.

  7. Mr. Puld,
    A very laudable observation, congratulations. Even if one would seek the excuse like: “Well, that is one of the consequences of the AZ CLEAN ELECTION system” it is an avoidable consequence. After all every candidate can choose running traditional.

  8. Reflection, distorted says

    Russell having to run clean is a direct result of his immigration stance. Hard to get a lot of business community support because of it. Overall, he’d spend more time getting less money running traditional than he would clean. He can still win the election, as he’s the incumbent and challengers usually have to spend a lot to get their name ID up to anywhere near where his is.

    Early ballots for the primary go out in a few weeks. If you had your campaign money in hand today, you would have just time to get your stuff together and contact those voters. Otherwise, you are either illegally ordering work to be done right now, or you are woefully behind the curve.

    Look at the list of candidates who are in a contested primary and don’t have their CE money yet, and tell me that it’s a fair system.

  9. This is a link to the Citizens Clean Election Commission. If you look down the right side of the page, you will see what the candidates have received, if anything, from CCEC.


  10. As you can see, Pearce has received $19,382.

  11. Manny Trayle says

    Word on the street is that Russell’s campaign finances are being checked out. I hope he’s okay.

  12. AZ Cowboy, since he is running as a Clean Elections candidate, Pearce cannot accept donations from outside his district other than “seed money” donations, and there are limits (amount, how much time he has to spend them) on those.

    Also, his $5 qualifying contributions must all be from voters in his district. As another commenter noted, Pearce has already received his CCEC funding for the primary, so he sent in his qualifying 5s already, anyway.

    Reflection, distorted –

    The CCEC system isn’t unfair, just certain candidates are disorganized – there are plenty of incumbents that *have* already received their CCEC funding.

    And speaking as a citizen and voter, I’d rather have candidates (Dem or Rep, incumbent or challenger) out walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors for CCEC 5s than out schmoozing deep-pocketed lobbyists for cash to fuel their campaigns.

    BTW – “Seed money” contributions are designed to tide over candidates while they get their 5s lined up. If a Clean candidate is out of money at this, they either threw it all away already or haven’t been putting out the effort needed.

    Either way, they’re not deserving of sympathy.

  13. Reflection, distorted says

    Craig, AZ legislative districts have over 100,000 voters. Who in their right mind would try to knock on that many doors?

  14. Ur so Crazy says

    Hey what gives – Hisserich doesn’t live in Gilbert – He lives in Mesa.


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