/ Modified jul 20, 2012 6:41 p.m.

AZ Week: PACs Emerge in State Campaign Financing

AZPM's political correspondents dig into, analyze quarterly reports

Political action committees are moving to the fore in Arizona's U.S. Senate and congressional races, Arizona Public Media analysis shows.

The second-quarter candidate reports, which were filed earlier this week, revealed at least one significant level of PAC activity, the analysis showed.

In Congressional District 1, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick reported raising $284,415 in total during the quarter, $130,350 of it from PACs.

By comparison, CD1 Republican candidate Jonathan Paton reported raising $304,115, and $24,000 of it came from PACs.

"We're seeing a lot of activity in PACs in Arizona," AZPM political correspondent Andrea Kelly said on Arizona Week. "This, of course, started with the presidential primary and continued on into the special Congressional District 8 election."

"So while PACs might not be up and running -- or up and spending -- in other states as much, we've already had a few election cycles where they're interested in trying to influence voters in Arizona," Kelly said.

The analysis showed that PACs in Arizona have spent $4.7 million so far in 2012. That included $1.7 million on presidential candidates in the campaign leading up to the GOP presidential primary election in February.

No PAC activity on behalf of or in opposition to Democratic President Obama was reported in Arizona in the first half of the year, Kelly said, adding, "I would guess that will change eventually."

AZPM political correspondent Christopher Conover said PAC activity is expected to accelerate, and he pointed out that the level of spending in Arizona so far is minimal.

"The $4.7 million -- to the average person that sounds like a lot of money," Conover said. "This is only for Arizona. We're not talking about the super PAC money or the PAC money being spent nationally."

AZPM's reports on and analysis of campaign finance are available on the Your Vote 2012 Election Center website.

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