Monday, May 07, 2012

AZ Star: Jeff Flake stays on offensive in U.S. Senate race


“Wil Cardon isn’t the first person to try to buy a Senate seat, but self-funders use their own money,” said Andrew Wilder, Communications Director for the Flake campaign. “It appears Wil’s money comes from corporate, and therefore, illegal sources. He should come clean with Arizona voters about his campaign finances.”

Flake stays on offensive in U.S. Senate race

Brady McCombs, Arizona Daily Star
Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 2:04 pm

The back-and-forth shots continue between the two Republicans vying to become the next U.S. Senator in Arizona.

Republican Jeff Flake has released a new web video questioning who’s really funding his primary opponent Wil Cardon’s campaign, and if it’s legal.

Earlier this year, it was the Cardon campaign that was on the offensive, airing Web, TV and radio ads about Flake's stances on immigration reform, his taxpayer-funded travels and his flip-flopping on issues.

But since about two weeks ago, the Flake campaign has been in full firing mode. Last week, the campaign launched a series of a "fact checks" about Cardon's comments.

This new video lays out claims made in an complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission in January that Cardon took out a $2.5 million loan days before filing to run for the U.S. Senate, using a house owned by three corporations as collateral. It is illegal for family member corporations to fund a campaign, the Flake campaign argues in the ad.

“Who’s really paying for Wil Cardon’s campaign?” the narrator asks in the ad. “Corporate-owned homes? Loans secured by businesses? Mr. Cardon, does this sound right to you?”

Cardon’s spokeswoman, Katie Martin, said in email that Cardon’s campaign has acted in full compliance with the law.

“Wil and this campaign have broken no laws — not one,” Martin said in the email. “The claims made by Congressman Flake, his campaign and his donor are complete lies. Wil Cardon has never taken out a line of credit for $2.5 million dollars to fund his campaign.”

The FEC confirmed it received the complaint in January but cannot talk about complaints that are under review. The complaint was filed by David Smith, a Republican from Mesa who supports Flake.

The new video from Flake’s campaign follows previous criticism about Cardon’s attempt to “try to buy Arizona’s Senate seat.” Cardon has put $4.2 million of his own money into the campaign. He has raised $706,725 from outside sources, which is less than Flake and Carmona raised in the first quarter of 2012.

Flake’s campaign spokesman, Andrew Wilder, has promised more fact checks on Cardon’s comments.

“Arizona voters have questions that deserve answers,” the narrator says as the ad concludes. “And you want to be our Senator? Another card falls, from the house of Cardon. Stay tuned for more.”

Late last week, the Flake campaign suggested Cardon had bought friends, and followers for his Facebook page. Martin said that is completely untrue.

Polls show Flake is the front-runner in the race to become Arizona's first new U.S. senator in nearly two decades.

A new poll from Magellan Strategies showed Flake with a 44-40 percent lead on Richard Carmona, the presumptive Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. The poll is based on an automated survey of 909 likely general election voters done earlier this week.

A Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Arizona voters queried in March showed Flake with a 47-34 percent lead over Carmona. A poll released on Feb. 21 from Public Policy Polling showed Flake leading Carmona by 11 points, 46-35 percent.

In the new Magellan poll, Cardon had a 41-40 lead on Carmona.

The poll also asked if people had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates. Flake scored the highest, with 30 percent saying they viewed him favorably. Carmona was next, with 22 percent saying they had a favorable opinion. Thirteen percent said they had a favorable opinion of Cardon.

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