Lake Campaign Draws on Small-Dollar Donors, But Faces Debt Challenge

Lake Campaign Draws on Small-Dollar Donors, But Faces Debt Challenge

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
February 1, 2024

November is still nine months away, but candidates running for office are already building up funds. Kari Lake, who is running to replace Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), has built much of her war chest from small-dollar donors. However, as a consequence, her campaign has accumulated debt.

The Arizona Republic noted that Lake's campaign collected $1.2 million in the first fundraising quarter, much of which came from small-dollar donors. While this does indicate she has built popular support from common voters, Lake has also accumulated $308,000 in debt.

Campaign spokesman Garrett Ventry told Politico that the debt comes from invoices raised near the end of the quarter and will not be an issue further on, owing to the same support from small-dollar donors.

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"Kari Lake had one of the strongest fundraising quarters of any GOP challenger. She is consolidating support with Arizonans and has cleared the field in the primary," said Ventry, adding that Lake is "well positioned to win in November."

By contrast, Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), running against Lake for Sen. Sinema's seat, raised $3.3 million in the last fundraising quarter, leaving him with $6.5 million in his war chest.

Of course, Gallego has the advantage as a sitting member of Congress, allowing him to accumulate funds more easily. However, he has also been spending the money almost as soon as it comes in, as the above Arizona Republic link indicates.

60% of Gallego's campaign funds have gone towards expenses, a higher rate than Sen. Sinema at 55% and Lake at 49%.

Speaking of Sinema, she has not officially announced her intention to run for reelection, having said she is focused on her work in the Senate, such as the bipartisan border deal, than on running.

Her latest fundraising figures reflect this, with Sinema only raising $595,000 in the fourth quarter of 2023 while spending $797,000 on travel and security expenses.

While a three-way race remains probable, Sinema's reelection campaign remains up in the air, and it may be a matter of time until she announces she will not run.

In a similar vein, Republican megadonor Andy Sabin recently told Presidential candidate Nikki Haley of South Carolina to drop out, having already lost Iowa and New Hampshire in the GOP Primary.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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