|Here are some excerpts from the article on AZ Central:
Doug Ducey got rich on the backs of taxpayers and failed Cold Stone Creamery franchisees. Christine Jones is Hillary Clinton's biggest fan. And Scott Smith has a long-running bromance with President Barack Obama.
Outside groups had poured $1.9 million into the competitive gubernatorial primary as of Aug. 5, fueling the barrage of ominously voiced TV spots and glossy mailers that have attempted to write new story lines about three of Arizona's would-be governors who are leading in the polls.
The source of the money, and motives of the deep pockets supplying it, isn't always clear. Most of the outside groups seeking to influence voters aren't required to disclose where their money comes from.
Jones and Smith say Ducey is linked to the groups attacking them. They connect him via his political ally, Republican consultant Sean Noble. Noble, who supports Ducey, has connections to four of the five groups running ads against Smith and Jones.
"There's no doubt that these are all related to Sean Noble and (his firm) DC London, and Ducey has had a relationship with Sean Noble and DC London - that's the worst-kept secret in the world," Smith said. "The fact that Doug Ducey has been completely silent means he supports it (attack ads funded by outside groups). To me, that's shameful."
"It's come to these outside groups to trash candidates, to do the dirty work for campaigns that campaigns kind of hesitate to do," said Richard Hasen, an election-law expert at the University of California-Irvine law school. "... A candidate or a party that's seen as mudslinging or being negative can face negative repercussions from voters, so it falls to the outside groups to do this sort of dirty work."
One of the first attacks on Jones came from 1,400 miles away. Veterans for a Strong America, a Sioux Falls, S.D.-based political group, ran ads and sent mailers, highlighting Jones' complimentary remarks about Clinton and suggesting Jones was unconcerned about the 2012 attacks on a U.S. consul in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
Another ad - this one attacking Smith - knocks him for supporting an international treaty that seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and compared him with Obama and former Vice President Al Gore. That ad came from even farther away, the Virginia-based 60 Plus Association. Another out-of-state group, the Iowa-based Legacy Foundation Action Fund, ran an ad that claimed Smith, as former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, was "Obama's favorite mayor."
David Berman, a senior research fellow at Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy, said voters should scrutinize any attack ad and question why groups, especially those from out of state, are so concerned with the outcome of a race in Arizona.
"There's nothing enlightening or educational for the voters in these ads, and in the process a lot of the money (to fund them) is coming from people who don't even live here," said Berman, who has studied the influence of anonymous political spending. "There are ideological groups that want to make sure the conservative they want gets elected. It's a real dark-money network." [emphasis added]