Arizona U.S. Senate seat race shaping into high-dollar slugfest

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Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., shuttles between the chamber and the whip office as the Senate dashes to wrap up votes on amendments on the big debt ceiling and budget cuts package, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 1, 2023. J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photos

Democrat Congressman Ruben Gallego, Republican Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, and Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema released their quarter-two fundraising numbers in the Arizona Senate race this week, which paints a clearer picture of the race in its early days.

Gallego raised $3.1 million in the quarter, which runs from April 1 to June 30, whereas Lamb raised over $607,000. The Democrat entered the race in January, and he’s quickly accumulated a war chest.

Lamb waited till Friday to release his numbers, which also show that he has $335,000 in cash on hand and spent over $272,000. Notably, his wife, Janel Lamb, was paid nearly $5,000 by the campaign for “strategic consulting” and mileage costs.

“Rough way to head into FEC weekend for the [Arizona Republican Party],” Gallego’s spokeswoman Hannah Goss tweeted Friday.

Lamb is the only one in the race for the Republican nomination, which has arguably come to a standstill as former gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has continuously said she is considering a bid to replace Sinema.

Sinema has not announced whether or not she will run for re-election, but the Wall Street Journal reported in April that she was laying the groundwork for a possible campaign. She raised $1.6 million, less than Gallego, but has $10.7 million on hand. The senator received significant praise and pushback after she left the Democratic Party in December, although she still caucuses with them.

Sinema would have likely faced a primary challenger if she stayed and decided to run for re-election, and her impending decision could set the stage for an unusual three-way race where the incumbent is not with either major party. 

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.