By Christopher Conover and Andrea Kelly
Democrat Ron Barber has spent nearly $500,000 with Washington, D.C.-based political consultants GMMB on the production of TV advertising for the the Congressional District 8 special election campaign.
Barber’s spending on TV ads is not unusual. His opponent, Republican Jesse Kelly, reported spending nearly $400,000 on commercials and advertising.
The two are running to fill the remainder of the term in CD8.
Spending reports show Kelly spent just less than $500,000 on all expenses including advertising, office supplies salaries, and other campaign-based costs. Barber spent $716,000 on many of the same, typical campaign expenses.
In fundraising during the last reporting period, Barber raised $640,000, including $139,000 from political action committees. Kelly raised $455,000, which included $166,500 from PACs. The majority of the money raised by both came from Arizona sources.
Donations of note for Barber include some people tied to the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting in which he and then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were wounded, six others were killed and 11 others were injured.
Those names include Patricia Maisch,who was among those helping to subdue the gunman, and Peter Rhee, the trauma surgeon who worked on Barber and Giffords.
Barber also received donations from Republicans Bruce Dusenberry and Pete Hershberger. State Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson, also wrote Barber a check. That is of particular note, because Heinz has filed the necessary paperwork to run for Congress in the fall against Barber.
Kelly donated $5,000 to his own campaign and received donations from long-time Republican backer Jim Click, a Tucson auto dealer. Kelly also took a $25,000 cash advance from a bank during the last few months.
Any money the candidates do not spend on the special election they can carry forward to their fall campaigns for Congressional District 2.