by Jim Nintzel
Republican Jonathan Paton reports that he has raised more than a half-million dollars for his campaign against Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:
In his first nine weeks as a candidate, Jonathan Paton has already topped an impressive $500,000 in contributions from more than 1,000 individual donors - a total that is expected to place Paton among the top Republican challengers in the country.
Paton announced today that he will report $500,715 in first quarter contributions - more than twice his original first quarter goal. He credited the total to hard work and strong support in Arizona for defeating Gabrielle Giffords this November.
The figure, a reflection of the energy behind Paton's candidacy, promises that this
exciting Southern Arizona race will remain in the national spotlight.
"Such overwhelming support for our movement is testament to how anxious Southern Arizonans are for new representation," Paton said. "Defeating Gabrielle Giffords' political machine, which is relying on the likes Nancy Pelosi, will take a great amount of money and effort. Such early and strong support for our campaign will send a loud message to Washington that we take this fight seriously."
More than 90 percent of Paton's contributions came from Arizonans, while only 53 percent of Giffords' contributions this cycle are even from individual donors. In fact, between his fundraising launch on January 26 and March 31, Paton received more than 1,100 individual contributions. Less than one percent of his money came from Political Action Committees - whereas Giffords has received a whopping 36 percent of her money raised this cycle from PACs, according to her last available report.
Paton raised an average of more than $7,700 per day - $55,600 per week. For comparison, in her first race in 2006, it took Giffords 16 weeks to top $500,000, raising an average of $35,600 per week during that time frame.
Paton, a native Tucsonan and graduate of the University of Arizona, is known for never forgetting where he came from. An Army Captain, in 2006, Paton voluntarily enlisted for service in Iraq during the darkest days of the war. As our state senator, Paton was known as a reformer, who continuously went head-to-head with former Gov. Janet Napolitano and state bureaucrats.
Paton's message of limited government, fiscal discipline and economic freedom is a stark contrast to Giffords' votes for the stimulus, cap-and-trade and government health care.
"We're just getting started," said Paton. "Between resources, grassroots support and help from residents all across Southern Arizona, I'm more confident than ever that we'll see success in November."