- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Doug Ducey fared well during the 2016 election cycle even though his name wasn’t on the ballot.

J.P. Twist, the governor’s political adviser, told the Arizona Capitol Times (https://bit.ly/2hawSHB) that Ducey raised about $12 million for candidates and causes he favored.

In five of the six campaigns Ducey engaged in, the side he backed prevailed, the only exception being the state Senate race in which Democrat Sean Bowie defeated Republican Frank Schmuck.

Ducey was able to achieve nearly every electoral goal he set over the past year. He pushed Proposition 123, an education funding measure intended to end a seven-year lawsuit, across the finish line in a special election in May. He kept the Senate in Republican hands, dashing the Democrats’ hopes of a split chamber. And he made Arizona the only state in the country to reject recreational marijuana in November when voters defeated Proposition 205.

The pro-Proposition 123 and anti-Proposition 205 campaigns each raised more than $5 million, most of which can be credited to Ducey. He also raised about $500,000 for Arizonans for Strong Leadership, his independent expenditure committee, and more than $300,000 for the Arizona Leadership Fund, his political action committee.

Both sides in the Proposition 205 contest insist that without Ducey’s efforts, recreational marijuana would be legal in Arizona.

Adam Deguire, a political consultant who led the anti-Proposition 205 effort, said Ducey was responsible for most of the more than $6 million that the campaign raised, and traveled the state to speak at town halls and campaign events as well.

“Unequivocally, if Governor Ducey was not involved in the 205 campaign, we likely would not have been successful,” he said.

J.P. Holyoak, who chaired the campaign for Proposition 205, said the money that Ducey raised allowed the anti-Proposition 205 campaign to flood the airwaves with ads, many of which claimed disastrous effects from Colorado voters’ 2012 decision to legalize marijuana.

“He raised the money and then the campaign was able to deploy that money to create false advertising that they were able to put on the airwaves in massive amounts,” Holyoak said.

Incoming Senate President Steve Yarbrough said it’s hard to say what the makeup of his chamber would be without the aid that Arizonans for Strong Leadership provided in the four contested Senate races, or whether Ducey prevented Democratic victories over Sen. Sylvia Allen, Rep. Kate Brophy McGee or Rep. Frank Pratt.

But there’s no question that Ducey played a significant role. “I can’t remember in my recollection a governor being that helpful to trying to preserve the majority for his party in the Legislature,” Yarbrough said.

The GOP holds a 17-13 edge in the state Senate, a net loss of just one seat.

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Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, https://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com


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