Arizona politics became a battleground of national interest during the contentious tabulation of 2020 election results. While it’s state-level races may not have pulled in quite the volume of outside money that other highly-publicized battlegrounds drew, Arizona elections still managed to attract some major nationwide donors.
Who gave the biggest contributions? Here is a look at the top ten individual donors in Arizona state politics during the 2020 election cycle.
Stacy Schusterman is the chairperson of Samson Energy Company, LLC, a private oil and gas company. Schusterman is also chair of Granite Properties, according to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation website. In Arizona, Schusterman has contributed $2.25 million to the Invest In Education PAC, $500,000 to Future Now Fund – AZ, and $10,000 to the Arizona Democratic Party. Schusterman is also the seventh largest donor in Minnesota and the eighth largest donor in Pennsylvania.
Karla Jurvetson is a psychiatrist and mega-donor who has backed Democratic candidates and causes across the country. Her top contribution in Arizona went in the amount of $1,853,250 to the Arizona Democratic Party. She can also be found in the number two donor spot on the Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas lists.
Katherine Rudin’s employer is listed as Rudin Management—a family-owned real estate company in New York City dating back to 1925. Rudin has given to a number of candidates and local Democrat parties around the country. In Arizona, Rudin gave almost $1 million to the Arizona Democratic Party between December of 2019 and September of 2020.
Charles Robertson contributed all $740,000 to a single recipient — the Future Now Fund – AZ, across four separate donations between June of 2019 and October of 2020. Robertson is retired and lives on the East Coast.
Bob Parsons is the founder of the GoDaddy group of internet hosting and domain name companies. He retired in 2014 to focus on philanthropy, with the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation active in the Phoenix, AZ area. As part of The Giving Pledge, the Parsons pledged to give over half of their net worth away during their lifetimes. The foundation has six areas for giving: Youth, Medical, Veterans, Education, Homelessness, and the “American Dream.” Politically, Parsons gave $500,000 to Arizonans for Strong Leadership and $100,000 to Arizonans for Great Schools and a Strong Economy in 2020.
Barry Munger is a photographer living in New York City, and has backed Democratic candidates and causes across the country. In Arizona, Munger contributed half a million dollars to Future Now Fund – AZ and $1,000 to Coral Evans’ campaign for Arizona State House. Munger is the son of Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
Deborah Simon and her sister Cynthia Simon-Skjodt —or, “the Simon Sisters”— are best known for founding Simon Malls around the country. Their opposition to former-Vice President Pence was highly publicized, as they poured millions of dollars into Democratic campaigns and organizations, mostly in the name of religious freedom and abortion laws. In Arizona, Deborah Simon contributed $500,000 to Future Now Fund – AZ in 2020.
Arthur Rock is a Silicon Valley investor and businessman known for being an early investor in major firms including Intel, Apple Computer, Scientific Data Systems and Teledyne. Rock has given to candidates on both sides of the aisle across the country for decades. In Arizona, he contributed $500,000 to the Invest In Education PAC during the 2020 election cycle.
Eric Schmidt was the CEO of Google for a decade, then chairman at Google and Alphabet, Inc., before becoming the Technical Advisor at Alphabet, Inc. He has a reported net worth of $18.6 billion. Schmidt earned his spot on the list with a single $427,500 contribution to the Arizona Democratic Party in 2020.
David Higgins is employed by AICI, an investment management company with a focus on real estate. In 2019 and 2020, Higgins contributed $225,000 to the Outlaw Dirty Money PAC, along with contributions to the Arizona Democratic Party, Maricopa County Democratic Party, Democrats of the Red Rocks, and two Democrat state House campaigns.
Aggregated Unitemized Contributions (AUC), which appears at the top of the list of individual donors, represents all donations that were less than Arizona’s minimum reporting threshold. Unlike larger donations, which must include the name, address, and other details about the donor, AUC lumps together all the small, unnamed donations into one group. While noteworthy because the total volume of these small-dollar donations is far larger than any one contributor at $14,930,856.96, AUC is not a single entity.
A complete list of state-level donors in Arizona can be found here. Our donor feature allows you to easily sort by individuals, entities, or federal PACs to find the data that is most relevant to your interests. Subscribe to Arizona updates to be informed when new data for the 2022 election cycle is released.