Steve Huffman, Republican cadidate for Congress in AZ CD 8, finally got his FEC report in on July 20th. As off this writing, the FEC still hasn’t finished processing, so the report page images I prefer to use are still not available, though all the information is present on the site.
Huffman raised very well this quarter, raking in $268,079.25, giving him a total of $507K. Huffman heads into the primary with by far the most cash in hand, $413K, of any of the GOP contenders, and second in the entire field only to Gabby Giffords.
Part of Huffman’s success is his apparently very low cost of fundraising. He’s only spent a little over $94K to date, almost all of it in the past quater ($81K). Compare that to over $250K for both Gabby and Graf, and over $150 by Hellon and Weiss. That kind of spending discipline is enabled only by a candidacy that is facing no need to spend (on mailings and events) to raise money. The RNC is clearly ensuring the Huffman gets all the money he needs. After all, he’s their golden boy and they will be plowing millions into holding CD 8 for the GOP. They’ve clearly picked their paladin for the fight.
Most of Huffman’s contributions came from individual contributors, with only about $38K from PACs. I have to imagine that this a conscious strategy by the Huffman campaign to minimize ties to PACs at this point, given the ethical problems GOP members are facing this season.
Huffman, despite his tight fistedness, has some interesting expenditures. He spent $13K on polling (I heard from little birds that he was testing messaging against Graf and discovered a 20 point bump when respondents were reminded of Graf’s position on Social Security ‘reform’ and thus he might be running strongly on this issue in the primary).
More disturbing is the $14K he’s paid to PR firm Stevens Reed, the bastards who did the Swiftboat campaign. I have to wonder which candidate he’s preparing to Swiftboat? The obvious targets are Hellon and/or Graf in the primary, and Gabby or Patty in general. Campaign scuttlebutt is that Huffman has dirt on one of the other candidates and has already cut an ad on the topic, aided by Jim Click. The Stevens Reed payment would tend to support that rumor.
Finally, I have no idea who Scott Huffman is, but it seems likely he’s related to Steve, and he’s on the campaign’s payroll for $2K a month. There’s nothing illegal about hiring your relatives for a campaign, sometimes they are the only ones you can count on to give you cadid advice, but does give an impression of impropriety which should be explained.