Following reports that his likely opponents in the Maricopa County attorney’s race are already on track to break campaign contribution records, candidate Gerald Richard said he, too, is hoping to become one of the top fundraisers in county history by June.
The former high-ranking Phoenix police official, however, has a lot of catching up to do.
He announced Tuesday that donors gave his campaign $40,000 so far, a far cry from the mere $3,000 he raised by the end of January.
That figure, though, means Richard still has less than a third of the amount of his Democratic primary opponent, Tim Nelson. He announced last week he had raised $140,000 in a little more than two months.
“Money will be a factor, but this race will be about the message and experience,” Richard said.
County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a Republican, is leading the money race. He had more than $210,000 on hand for his re-election bid as of late January.
Richard said he expects to also reach the six-figure mark by June, which would put him among the elite fundraisers ever in Maricopa County.
Few in the county have ever broken $100,000.
Richard said, however, he doesn’t plan on staking his campaign on cash.
Since becoming the only candidate to officially get into the race, as of last week, he already has made the rounds in the Valley media circuit, speaking to newspapers, television and radio talk shows and drumming up publicity.
“I’m not just walking around with money flowing out of my pockets,” Richard said.
Still, every day, Richard makes calls to potential donors and has a goal of getting another $2,000 or more per day.
Political observers have said this could become the most expensive race in county history, with campaigns ultimately reaching as high as $500,000 by the general election in November.
Part of the excitement on the part of Democrats comes from their perception that Thomas is a vulnerable first-time office holder.
A poll released Tuesday by Bruce Merrill at Arizona State University showed 43 percent of everyone in Maricopa County has no opinion on the race, potentially leaving a large group of voters up for grabs.
Of the people who have an opinion, however, Thomas has a strong following, with 70 percent saying he has done a good or excellent job in office.