From the last campaign cycle, we now discover Clean Elections money bought expensive laptops, paid sign helpers, and funded parties. We are all human, thus tend to be less stewardly with other people’s money than we are with our own.
I understand because I just ran a traditionally funded campaign for State Senate in Tempe and south Scottsdale (District 17) and cut costs by riding my bicycle to knock on 10,000 doors. I chose not to fund my campaign with Clean Elections money because Arizona is in a financial crisis. I considered it a wonderful privilege to run. By the end of the campaign, 400 generous people donated to my race. I started by asking ex-military friends who served alongside me to donate, then asked Tempe and south Scottsdale friends and voters upon whose doors I knocked. Also like-minded, small-business-oriented political action committees donated to me such as the dairymen, cattlemen, CPAs, cotton growers, osteopaths, optometrists, and farmers; even though by law their donations could only total a small fraction of the final sum. I accepted no money from unions or corporations. Some might argue that fundraising is too time consuming. I run a small business with 10 full-time employees, plus we have two ASU student kids. So I just applied my motto of “Work hard. Follow through.”
We live in a magnificent state and a great nation, uniquely different from countries where I served half of my 20-year Air Force career, where going door-to-door to meet voters is not commonplace. Let’s eliminate Clean Elections and follow a back-to-basics approach to political campaigning. Arizona politics would be strengthened by a resurgence of responsibility-taking. Eliminating Clean Elections would be a great first step toward restoring public faith in our state government.
Wendy Rogers was the recent Republican nominee for State Senate in Legislative District 17. She was the leading Republican vote getter in nearly every single precinct of LD-17, exceeding both Governor Brewer and Congressman-elect Schweikert by 3 to 5 percentage points in all 69 precincts. Her rag-tag, shoestring-budget campaign, while still ‘amassing’ a respectable amount of $88,000 of privately raised money, paled in comparison to what a US congressional campaign spent. So it goes to show what boots on the ground and bike tire rubber can accomplish.