Dentists push Gosar fundraising to top in crowded CD1 primary race
Looking at his campaign spending report, it seems just about every dentist in the country is rooting for Paul Gosar in Arizona's 1st Congressional District primary race.
"Maybe not all of them, but a lot," agrees Gosar, a Flagstaff dentist. Hundreds of dentists, about 60 percent from Arizona, have pushed him to the front of fund-raising efforts in the eight-person field of candidates with $414,486 in contributions (including $23,497 from himself).
Gosar traveled to several western states to campaign at dentist gatherings.
Gosar credits his past four years as vice chair of the Arizona Dental Association's Council on Governmental Affairs as the reason why so many dentists support him. He said he stood up for dentists, patients and small businesses even when it wasn't the popular thing to do.
For example, he said he helped push to get rid of insurance giants' exemption from federal anti-trust laws. House Resolution 4626 made it through the House and now is awaiting Senate consideration.
Eight Republicans are competing in the CD1 primary election Tuesday. The winner will face freshman incumbent Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.
In second place in the CD1 Republican fund-raising efforts is mining advocate and conservative activist Sydney Hay of Munds Park and Scottsdale, who raised $398,844 although $200,000 came from her own pockets. Her contributors include retired California congressman Duncan Hunter and major Yavapai County landowner Rex Maughn.
Sculptor and mining lobbyist Rusty Bowers of Superior, the only CD1 Republican candidate with prior elected experience (in the Arizona Legislature), is third with $153,505 including $2,400 of his own money. His supporters include State Land Commissioner Maria Baier, state legislators Charles Gray and John Huppenthal, several members of the well-known Tenney family of northern Arizona, Yavapai County Supervisor Carol Springer and Prescott-area developer Mike Fann. He also has the endorsement of Arizona Senate Majority Whip Steve Pierce of Prescott.
Globe attorney Bradley Beauchamp is fourth with $144,878 (including $24,800 from himself). He has lots of Prescott-area support including Legislative District One candidate Karen Fann, Yavapai County Sheriff Steve Waugh and members of the well-known Fain family that helped build Prescott Valley.
Show Low cardiologist Steve Mehta has pulled in $101,543 including $4,371 of his own money and lots of contributions from fellow doctors.
Far behind with less than $17,000 each are Sedona investment advisor Thomas Zaleski, assistant principal Jon Jensen of Prescott Valley and Joe Jaraczewski of Cottonwood, a former real estate developer who helps manage his wife's two medical clinics.
Kirkpatrick already has raised $1.4 million for her war chest. Forty-four percent of her money has come from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
"I don't have to out-raise her, I just have to stay close," Gosar said.
Prescott-area support is critical to Republican 1st Congressional District candidates, since it is the heart of the Republican base for the huge rural district. Forty percent of the district's Republicans live in Yavapai County, and the Prescott area is its population center.
Of the district's nearly 400,000 voters, 38 percent are Democrats, 33 percent are Republicans and 28 percent are Independents.
While The Daily Courier could not locate any public polls on the CD1 Republican primary race, at least two groups conducted their own informal polls.
The most Yavapai Tea Party votes (35.1 percent) went to Bradley Beauchamp. Beauchamp was the favorite of about 250 Republican precinct committee members who attended a July candidate forum in Payson.
Gosar also has the distinction of getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
It is unclear whether one of the CD1 candidates filed a personal financial disclosure with the U.S. House of Representatives, as the law requires.
Every congressional candidate who raises at least $5,000 has to file the disclosures. Since a House spokesperson refused to relate whether Zaleski filed his disclosure, the House does not make disclosures available to the public outside of D.C. and the House has 30 days to get disclosures to the Arizona Secretary of State, The Daily Courier contacted Zaleski for a copy and he said he would send one. However, by press time he had not sent a copy or responded to later calls.
Court records show Zaleski, a financial adviser from Sedona who touted his budget-reading skills, also filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2001.
Jaraczewski didn't file his personal financial disclosure until The Daily Courier called to ask him for a copy. He said his treasurer forgot to send it.
Following is a list of the 2009 jobs and salaries each candidate disclosed:
Beauchamp - $48,465 as attorney.
Bowers - $130,178, including $81,645 from Arizona Rock Products Association and $48,533 from art sales.
Gosar - $130,763 including $112,547 as dentist and $18,216 from antique sales at Aunt Maude's Antique Store.
Hay - $229,471 total, including payments from Arizona Mining Association salary ($56,000), AMIGOS Trade Association contract ($74,000), Advocates for School Choice contract ($60,000), Save Our Secret Ballot Inc. Nevada contract ($34,471) and SOS Ballot contract in Arizona in support of Proposition 108 ($5,000).
Jaraczewski - Diamond Resorts International resort in Sedona (sales contractor), $30,000.
Jensen - $13,200 from Arizona Public Safety Retirement System.
Mehta - $2,630,660 including $1.25 million from Northern Arizona Heart Center, $1.36 million from Heart Center of Northeastern Arizona, $16,656 from Mehtaplane Properties and $295 from Mehtaesthetics.