Aug 10, 2022 - Politics

National Democrats say they're "all in" for Hobbs in Arizona's race for governor

Illustration of a ballot box and question mark sticker.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) says it's going all in to help Katie Hobbs become governor, though it's unclear how much the group will spend on her race — or whether it's willing to match its Republican counterpart.

The big picture: The DGA recently transferred $1.5 million to the Arizona Democratic Party, and the party began running a TV ad against Lake this week.

  • The ad criticizes Lake for her opposition to abortion rights, accuses her of having an extreme position on guns and emphasizes her support for baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
  • The Arizona Democratic Party has already bought about $4.4 million worth of airtime, most of it in the final weeks leading up to the general election, though spokesperson Morgan Dick said not all of that money would be spent in the governor's race.

What the Democrats are saying: "The DGA views Arizona as one of our top pickup opportunities in the country. We are all in to help Katie Hobbs turn Arizona blue and keep extremist Republican Kari Lake out of office," DGA spokesperson Christina Amestoy tells Axios Phoenix.

Meanwhile: The Republican Governors Association (RGA) has pre-booked $10.6 million worth of airtime for the general election.

What the Republicans are saying: "The DGA looked at Katie Hobbs’ horrible record on immigration and a litany of personal scandals and made the wise decision not to match the spending supporting Kari Lake in the state," said RGA spokesman Will Reinart.

Yes, but: Looking at the dollar amounts spent by each group isn't necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison because of the technicalities of Arizona's campaign finance laws.

  • The Arizona Democratic Party is spending under a state law that allows candidates and political parties to run coordinated ad campaigns, which get cheaper airtime than outside groups.
  • During the past week, RGA bought only slightly more gross ratings points for TV ads yet spent more than twice what the Democratic Party spent.
  • Amestoy said the Arizona Democratic Party and Hobbs' campaign will be able to book more airtime and spend effectively through Election Day.

Context: Democrats have had a lot of success over the past few elections in traditionally red Arizona. They took several statewide offices in 2018, both U.S. Senate seats and even the state's electoral votes in 2020.

  • But 2022 is shaping up to be a Republican wave year, with high inflation and President Biden's low approval numbers dragging down other Democrats.
  • Republicans saw unusually high turnout in last week's primary election.
  • Some Democrats view the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade, as well as the types of candidates the GOP is nominating, as potential game-changers.

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