Arpaio, Thomas increase campaign spending - East Valley Tribune: News

Arpaio, Thomas increase campaign spending

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Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008 8:19 pm | Updated: 8:37 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Candidates in Maricopa County's most highly watched races have sharply increased campaign spending as their races near the end of the road.

Candidates running for sheriff and county attorney have doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent weeks on television and radio ads in races that haven't been competitive in years.

For more than two decades both offices have been held by Republicans as the GOP has held a dominant voter registration advantage over Democrats - leaving little doubt which candidate would win the general election.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a Republican, had been running a relatively quiet campaign, but in recent weeks he's stepped up his spending significantly against Democratic opponent Dan Saban.

Last month the sheriff reported having had about $400,000 on hand to wage the rest of his campaign. Arpaio said he's now got about $200,000 left as he's thrown down more cash on television ads and other media buys.

"I'm going to spend it," Arpaio said. "I don't plan on banking it and carrying it over to the next election."

This week he and County Attorney Andrew Thomas launched another joint television ad focusing on their get-tough attitude toward illegal immigration.

The sheriff hinted there could be a blitz of new ads hitting the airwaves in the final two weeks but would not give specifics, saying, "I'm not going to tip off my opponent about what I'm doing."

All told, Arpaio has set campaign finance records for candidates running in countywide races. According to campaign finance reports filed this week, the sheriff has raised about $600,000 as he seeks a fifth term.

In stark contrast to Arpaio, Saban was left with about $24,700 heading into the finals days of the race. Saban, a former police chief of Buckeye, has raised nearly $150,000 during the entire campaign, according to his campaign aides. Saban was unavailable for comment.

Political candidates in county races were required to turn over campaign finance reports by 5 p.m. Thursday detailing how much they spent and raised from Sept. 23 to Oct. 15.

In the county attorney's race, Thomas increased his spending during the four-week reporting period in September and October, with his re-election campaign writing checks that totaled $107,583.

Those dollars funded television commercials in which Thomas and Arpaio tout their illegal immigration enforcement and a campaign mailer that accused Thomas' challenger, Democrat Tim Nelson, of being opposed to the death penalty.

Thomas raised $17,635 during the period, bringing his total to $282,417 for the whole campaign. He had $114,618 for the last two weeks before Election Day

Nelson's finance report was not available Thursday afternoon.

Even without the most recent contributions, Nelson has raised more money than Thomas. Nelson had collected nearly $340,000 by Oct. 2.

However, it is unknown if Nelson has more cash for the campaign's final stretch.

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