Following the Money in Antenori/Sposito/Collins/Gowan LD30 Four-Way

A few weeks back, we mentioned that Republican Frank Antenori went on a bit of a rampage against his fellow GOP candidates in Legislative District 30.

Antenori was angry that fellow Republican Doug Sposito and his supporters were spending so much money that the Clean Elections candidates in the race—Sharon Collins and David Gowan—were getting a windfall in matching funds. As of last week, Gowan had received more than $38,000, while Collins had more than $32K.

Meanwhile, Antenori has been struggling to raise private funds. His most recent report, filed last week, shows that he had collected just $15,669 for his campaign and had less than $2,200 left in the bank.

Antenori said Sposito had “obviously sold out” to Maricopa-based special interests that want to water down the employer-sanctions law with Stop Illegal Hiring, a ballot proposition that was originally launched to counter a more draconian employer-sanctions initiative that was being pushed by state Rep. Russell Pearce and his idiot pal, Don Goldwater. Those knotheads failed to make the ballot and are now complaining that Stop Illegal Hiring, which is supported by a group called Wake Up Arizona, will water down the current state law.

Sposito, who supports Stop Illegal Hiring, told us that a July fundraising event in Phoenix sponsored by supporters of Wake Up Arizona only raised him about $2,500. The big influx on money had come from his own pocket; he’d loaned his campaign $12,000.

The latest campaign finance reports, filed last week, show that of the $27,785 that Sposito had raised in the latest period, about $4,700 came from a variety of lawyers, lobbyists and other contributors in the Phoenix area, although he says not all of it came as a result of the July event.

“The Phoenix fundraiser netted me exactly $2,015,” Sposito says. “The rest has been from people mailing me contributions—hearing about my campaign, reading about it in the newspapers and checks are coming in.”

The names of the heavy hitters with Wake Up Arizona, such as McDonald’s magnate Mac Magruder and political consultant Nathan Sproul, do not appear as contributors.

Antenori now says he “would not believe that Doug would be stupid enough to accept contributions from those kinds of controversial individuals because it would crush him.”

Sposito has received a $390 check from auto dealer Jim Click, who is also part of Wake Up Arizona. But so has Antenori, although he downplays its significance.

“If Click wanted to give me money, I’d be sitting on about $40,000 in cash right now,” Antenori says. “So he sends me a $390 check—I didn’t get a check from his wife, his kids, his uncle, his cousins, all these other folks. … And that’s just so he can say, ‘Yeah, I support Frank.’ Evidently, he does. He sent me a check. But he’s not helping me. Not in the least bit. As a matter of fact, he’s working against me, in my opinion.”

The original ScrambleWatch post got the attention of Pete Davis, a precinct committeeman who’s well connected in Green Valley GOP circles. Davis was so upset by Antenori’s comments that he sent out an e-mail message denouncing Antenori and announcing he was now supporting Collins and Sposito.

“I have been a supporter of Frank Antenori and cannot tell you how disappointed I am in Frank’s lack of judgment,” Davis wrote. “I called Frank this morning and told him that I could no longer support his candidacy. I told him that I do not believe that he has a moral compass nor the temperament to represent District 30.”

Antenori has apologized to Gowan and Collins for telling us they were too stupid to be lawmakers (although, in Gowan’s case, we tend to agree with Antenori’s assessment.) But he says he hasn’t apologized to Sposito. He stands by his claim that Sposito embraced the Stop Illegal Hiring initiative after attending the Phoenix fund-raiser.

Sposito says he has supported Stop Illegal Hiring throughout the campaign, although he hadn’t spoken out about the initiative until Antenori made it an issue a few weeks ago.

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