What Does “Participating” Mean in the Voter Guide?

Many of you have asked what does it mean in the Voter Guide when it says “Participating” or “Traditional” next to the candidates name?

“Participating” means that I have qualified for campaign funding through the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.  In order to qualify, I ( and my volunteers) obtained 296 contributions of $5 each from Democrat or Independent voters who live in my district.  Those individual contributions signify that the voters support my candidacy.

Why run a clean campaign? I chose to run a “participating” or “clean” campaign.  I wanted to send a signal that this district is ready for change.  Knocking on doors to convince people to hand you $5 in exchange for a sheet of paper isn’t easy.  But when they do, there is a contract between you–they have invested in the idea of a candidate who is ready to give them a voice in the legislature, and I am committed to represent their interests at the Legislature.

Some people wrongly believe that clean elections funding is taxpayer money–It IS NOT. In fact, the funding comes from the $5 contributions, a 10% surcharge on civil and criminal court penalties, fines paid by those who misuse the system and voluntary contributions.  The Clean Elections system was put into law by voter initiative.

For me, the most important aspect of Clean Elections funding is that it allows candidates to focus on speaking to voters, not collecting contributions from big donors.  I chose to participate in the system and voluntarily limited my ability to fund raise to around $4000 in “early contributions”  it is seed money to get the ball rolling on the campaign. This choice limits my ability buy signs and send mailers, but I wanted my focus to be on the voters.

What am I up against?  My opponent is “Traditional.”  This means that she has no limit on her ability to seek donations from lobbyists, individuals and businesses.  As an incumbent, she has a direct line to many donors.  She has used that pipeline and raised around $50,000 last election–even though she didn’t have an opponent.  Since she first ran for office, she has raised over $289,000 to obtain and keep her post–one that pays a base salary of $24,000 per year. (followthemoney.org)

On the other hand, I have great job– one that will be waiting for me at the end of the legislative session.  I am interested in joining the legislature to assure that Arizona does what is right for its citizens and its long term economic growth.

Here are a few volunteers after a long session of knocking on doors around Acoma Park!  They did a great job and I am grateful for their work!