Arizona Voters Drowning In Shallow Campaigns

Political advertising spending is expected to hit $32 million in the Phoenix market thanks to the most competitive Arizona elections in more than a decade. The ads feature very little substance or vision, which means that it’s a beauty contest within the good old boys network.

Local television stations are pegging campaign ad spending at $32 million for this election cycle up from previous estimates of $26 million. Political campaigns already have spent $29 million so far locally.

This election season is the first open contest for governor since 2002 when Janet Napolitano edged out Matt Salmon and Rick Renzi and Trent Franks won open congressional seats.

The current race for governor between Republican Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal is close after less competitive contests in 2010 and 2006. There is little independent polling the race. Democrats privately say surveys show the candidates are tied. Republicans contend Ducey is up two or three percentage points.

There already have been some negative ads criticizing DuVal’s tenure as a political lobbyist and questioning Ducey’s tenure as CEO of Cold Stone Creamery. DuVal, the former chair of the Arizona Board of Regents, will continue to hammer away on education, increasing school funding and the state’s poor national standing.

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“Education will be the deciding issue in this campaign. The reason our race is so close is because Arizonans are frustrated about the cuts to their children’s schools and they’re looking for leaders who will stop the cuts and start restoring funding to neighborhood schools,” said DuVal spokesman Geoff Vetter.

“Our campaign has always prepared for a close contest. We understand that we cannot take anything for granted and we are working every day to communicate Doug’s message of greater opportunity for all Arizonans,” said Ducey spokeswoman Melissa Delaney.

She said the Ducey camp will continue to tout their candidate’s private sector experience and DuVal’s lobbying tenure. There also are ads running in congressional campaigns for seats held by Democratic U.S. Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema. They face Republican challenges as the GOP hopes to gain congressional seats nationwide.

Two other statewide races for Arizona attorney general and Superintendent of Public Instruction are also expected to be close.


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