CD8: Nathan Sproul Joining Team Paton?

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Politico takes notice of the Sarah Palin flap in the CD8 Republican primary that we told you about a few days ago.

The story notes—as we did in coverage this week—that the race between former state lawmaker Jonathan Paton and political newcomer Jesse Kelly is coming down to the wire:

The Palin flap is the latest in an unexpectedly heated primary race that comes to a close next Tuesday. Paton, who jumped into the 8th District race after urging from national Republicans, raised more than $500,000 in his first three months, making the incumbent Giffords take notice. The Arizona Democratic Party started attacking him as “Payday Paton."

But in the second quarter, his fundraising dropped precipitously, to $167,000. Kelly outraised him in the pre-primary period between July 1 and Aug. 4, bringing in $78,500 to Paton’s $46,400.

Paton also spent much of his money early on, and Kelly has spent considerably more on TV ads in the past two weeks than Paton.

“Paton made some very serious mistakes about how he spent his money and where he spent his money. If it wasn’t for those mistakes, the race would have been over weeks ago, if not sooner,” said one longtime Arizona GOP operative.


The story also notes that notorious Republican operative Nathan Sproul, who has tight connections to auto dealer Jim Click, is coming to Paton's aid:

In the past 10 days, Paton has hired the Lincoln Strategy Group and has intensified efforts to woo top Republican financiers, a consultant said, a strategy that, according to FEC reports, has already yielded $26,700.

Scarpinato, the Paton spokesman, said the campaign is raising money at a rate on par with what they were raising between January and March.

Read the whole Politico piece here.

Scarpinato tells us the campaign has "not made any changes to our team," but declined to comment on whether campaign has hired Sproul as a vendor or consultant. Sproul, a former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party, made headlines in in 2008 after sending out a mailer linking state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of SB 1070, to Nazis.

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