With the addition of $600,000 in the final three months of 2015, Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick ended the year having raised $1.8 million to fund her Senate campaign, the campaign told Roll Call.
In a statement, Kirkpatrick’s campaign bragged that their haul was the “strongest off-year fundraising effort ever” for a Democratic Senate candidate in the Grand Canyon State, as the third-term lawmaker attempts to unseat Republican Sen. John McCain.
“The response from folks in this state and across the country to our campaign has been incredible,” Kirkpatrick said in a statement to Roll Call. “After watching three decades of shifting positions and empty rhetoric from John McCain, Arizonans are making it clear they’re ready for a change.”
Kirkpatrick's campaign, which has earned establishment support from groups such as EMILY's List and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, ended the year with less than $1 million in the bank.
But unlike Kirkpatrick, McCain has a potentially expensive hurdle between now and the November election: a late-August primary election. Already, a pro-McCain outside group has began spending money to tout McCain's national security credentials.
McCain, the fifth-term incumbent, ended the year with $5.1 million in the bank after raising just more than $950,000 – and spending most of it – during the final three months of 2015.
Even with the announcement over the weekend by Republican Rep. David Schweikert that he would not challenge McCain, the last Republican in the state's delegation to definitely rule out a run, McCain is still facing opposition on the right from former state Sen. Kelli Ward, a Republican.
Despite some unease about Ward by national conservative groups, McCain will likely have to spend some money to fend her off and to bolster his own numbers with primary voters. Just Saturday , the Maricopa County Republican Party passed a resolution endorsing "anybody but McCain" in the Republican primary, and the state Republican state committee could soon consider a similar resolution.
Ward, who raised more than $500,000 during her first quarter as a candidate, has not yet released her fundraising numbers. But last week, she got something of a boost from conservative talk-radio host Sean Hannity who told his listeners he was "disappointed" in McCain, and, in his view, "Ward has a good shot at knocking off McCain."