Andrew Thomas will be staying in the race for governor.
The Secretary of State's Office said Thursday that Thomas has now submitted enough valid names on $5 donations to qualify for public funding for his campaign. That means he will now get a check for $753,616 in his bid to be the Republican nominee.
Thomas will get another $1,130, 424 if he manages to win the Aug. 26 primary
Thursday's decision places him on equal financial footing with Secretary of State Ken Bennett, the only other surviving GOP contender for governor who is running with public dollars. All of the other contenders have opted instead to collect private donations.
How much they will have remains to be seen: The latest campaign finance reports, which cover donations through the end of May, are not due until next week.
But it is clear that both Thomas and Bennett will be outspent by at least some of their foes.
At last official count, though, state Treasurer Doug Ducey was in the lead, having raised more than $1 million through the end of last year. His campaign has informally announced he has passed the $2 million mark.
And in a press release, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, who did not enter the race until January, reported raising $1 million in the first five months of his campaign.
Former GoDaddy executive Christine Jones reported having raised close to $600,000 by the end of last year, most of that coming from her own pocket. There have been no reports — and no press releases — from former California Congressman Frank Riggs.
The questions about Thomas' candidacy arose when the Secretary of State's Office disqualified 272 of the names and $5 donations he had submitted. That left him short of the 4,500 needed. But Arizona law gives candidates in that position one more chance, and, on Thursday, the Secretary of State's Office determined that 234 of the 259 additional names submitted were valid, pushing him over the top.
Democrat Fred Duval and Libertarian Barry Hess both are running with private dollars. John Mealer, the only Americans Elect candidate who qualified to get on the ballot, is seeking public funds but has not yet qualified.