By Evan Wyloge | Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting
Of the roughly $7.4 million in individual contributions made to Arizona politics in 2015, about ten percent came from 10 individuals or households.
Many of those top political contributors have funded political campaigns for years, giving large sums in previous cycles. Longtime contributors like Jim Pederson, Bill and Alice Roe, Jerry and Marilyn Hayden, and Jim and Vicki Click again made the list of the largest political contributions.
Money going toward Democrats or Democratic efforts were more than double that for Republicans in 2015, among those top individual political contributors.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 political funders from 2015:
- Longtime Democratic supporter Jim Pederson topped the list of individual contributors in 2015, with $119,100 given. All but $100 of that went directly to the Arizona Democratic Party, and the remainder went to Arizona List P.A.C., which advocates for pro-choice female politicians in the state. Pederson was one of the top campaign contributors in 2014, with $243,000 given during that two-year election cycle.
- Tucson resident Catherene Morton came in second for individual donations, giving $94,600, mostly to the Arizona Democratic Party in 2015, along with a few other smaller contributions made to Tucson-based Democrats, the local Democratic Party committee and a political action committee. Morton gave roughly $131,000 to similar beneficiaries during the 2014 cycle.
- Lynn Londen put $80,000 into the Arizona Republican Party in 2015, making her the third most giving political contributor for the year. Londen’s contribution puts her far above the $20,000 she gave to the state Republican Party during the 2014 cycle. During that cycle, Londen and her late husband Jack also gave to Republicans running for the Arizona Legislature and statewide offices. Jack Londen owned insurance companies and the parent company of Channel 7 (KAZT).
- Bill and Alice Roe, who have been involved with local Democratic politics for decades, put roughly $68,300 into the state party and local party funds, as well as several Democratic candidates. The two gave about $290,000 to Democrats and Democratic causes during the 2014 cycle.
- Democratic supporter David Higgins has put roughly $65,500 into political efforts in 2015, almost exclusively to the Arizona Democratic Party. He gave $500 to Arizona List P.A.C. Higgins is a manager at AICI Investments in Scottsdale. Higgins and his wife gave about $234,000 to Democrats and Democratic causes during the 2014 cycle.
- Republican backers Jerry & Marilyn Hayden gave $61,000 during 2015, with all but $1,000 going to the Arizona Republican Party. Marilyn Hayden gave $1,000 to the group that will fight against a ballot measure to legalize marijuana use for adults. The couple put roughly $115,000 toward Republicans during the 2014 cycle.
- Pamela Grissom, the co-founder and board of directors chairwoman of Arizona List, a group that fosters pro-choice female politicians, gave $42,000 in 2015. The largest portion, $20,750 went to the Arizona Democratic Party. Grissom also gave to a few county Democratic parties, the Arizona List P.A.C., and a handful of female candidates. Grissom’s total contributions for the 2014 cycle were around $75,000.
- Tucson Republican donors Jim and Vicki Click gave $41,250 during 2015. Of that, $30,000 was given to the Arizona Republican Party, then $10,000 to the Pima County Republican Party, and some smaller $250 to $500 contributions to Republican Sens. Jeff Dial and Steve Smith. In the 2014 cycle, the Clicks gave around $311,000 to Republican efforts. Jim Click owns several auto dealerships in southern Arizona.
- Steve White, a local attorney and CEO of a Tempe medical marijuana dispensary, gave $35,499, of which $35,000 went toward the ballot measure aimed at legalizing marijuana use for adults. The remaining $500 went to Gov. Doug Ducey’s campaign.
- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg put $35,000 into Arizona politics in 2015. Of that, $30,000 went to Leadership for Educational Equity Arizona, the local chapter of a nonprofit group that helps Teach For America leadership development. The remaining $5,000 went toward Democratic Rep. Reginald Bolding. Bloomberg had put around $308,000 into Arizona politics during the 2014 cycle.