GOP looks to get more bang for their buck in Arizona in Lake campaign
The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is providing more assistance to GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake by funding a new coordinated campaign.
Driving the news: The RGA is canceling about $6.5 million in TV airtime it reserved through Election Day and is instead shifting that money to the Yuma County Republican Party.
- The Yuma GOP's coordinated campaign with Lake has reserved about $7.1 million worth or airtime from this week through Nov. 8.
- The RGA has already spent more than $4 million on TV ads against Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs so far.
Why it matters: Candidates get better rates on airtime than outside groups like RGA.
- The coordinated campaign can buy about $1 million more worth of TV ads than the RGA could with the same amount of money, RGA political director J.P. Twist tells Axios.
- Outside groups known as independent expenditures (IEs) aren't permitted to coordinate with candidates, but state law allows political parties to do so.
The other side: The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) has been funding a coordinated campaign between Hobbs and the Arizona Democratic Party.
- The DGA-funded coordinated campaign has spent about $4 million on TV ads so far, while the Hobbs campaign has spent about $2.5 million.
State of play: Lake's television presence has been paltry — she launched her first TV ad of the general election this week.
- The campaign is spending about $250,000 on airtime over the next two weeks.
- The coordinated campaign is now airing its first two ads — one criticizing Hobbs on border security and illegal immigration and another hitting her on taxes and economic issues.
Between the lines: The RGA is putting its money into the Yuma County party instead of the Arizona GOP.
- Twist says the Yuma County GOP was a "better fit" for the campaign but wouldn't elaborate on why.
The intrigue: There's a lot of hostility between AZGOP chair Kelli Ward and the party's more establishment wing, and the two have feuded for years.
- "Obviously the leadership of the RGA were not comfortable with the state party and how they would handle the funds, so they chose to set up and run through another entity that had everything in place," former Yuma County GOP chair Phil Townsend told Axios.
- Townsend was in a similar position in 2010 when U.S. Sen. John McCain tapped the Yuma County party to run a statewide campaign for Republican candidates instead of the AZGOP.
- After Ward's re-election as party chair in January 2021, Twist tweeted, "And with that, the AZGOP will have no significant role in '22. No other option but to work with others. We’ve been here before. No big deal."
Of note: An AZGOP spokesperson didn't return an email from Axios, but the party wrote on Twitter that it was a "ridiculous theory" to say RGA's decision was a snub and that party contributors "value the fact that large percentages of their donor dollars do not go into the pockets of political consultants."
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