Mark Kelly says he is a criminal justice moderate. His campaign took $350,000 from a Soros-backed fundraising group.
A black money group that wants to dismantle the police and abolish federal immigration agencies has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Arizona Senate race, giving Democratic Senator Mark Kelly a last-minute boost , whose once considerable lead evaporated before Election Day. .
Living United for Change in Arizona has spent nearly $350,000 since Oct. 21 to help the Kelly campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. The expenses went to pay the salaries of canvassers to knock on doors in the Grand Canyon State to secure the vote for Kelly.
The donations create an uneasy alliance for Kelly, who poses as a moderate criminal justice reformer. Living United, which received funding from left-leaning billionaire George Soros, called for the Phoenix Police Department’s funding to be cut, saying, “The police don’t protect us or serve us.” The group, which staged protests outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, made national headlines in October 2021 after its members filmed Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) in a bathroom on the campus of Arizona State University and fried it on her. opposition to the end of the filibuster to pass a ballot bill.
The group’s support comes at a pivotal time for Kelly, whose double-digit lead over Republican Blake Masters has vanished amid growing concerns about crime and the economy. A recent poll by progressive Data for Progress found Kelly tied with Masters. The poll also found Latino voters favored Kelly by a margin of 58 to 37, down considerably from Kelly’s support within the group in the 2020 special election.
Although the Kelly campaign is not working directly with Living United on the canvassing effort, Living United paid $210,000 to FieldCorps, a consulting firm linked to Kelly. Francisco Heredia, a Mesa councilman who owns FieldCorps, campaigned for Kelly this year. The Kelly campaign lists Heredia as a member of its “Latinos for Kelly Coalition”. Living United contributed an additional $138,546 to ADP Payroll to cover canvasser salaries, according to campaign finance information.
The Living United Political Action Committee received approximately $1 million in funding in the 2020 cycle from left-leaning campaign groups Civic Participation Action Fund and the Movement Voter Project. The militant wing of the group, which organizes anti-police and anti-ICE rallies, has been funded by numerous progressive black money groups. The Sixteen Thirty Fund and New Venture Fund, which are not required to disclose their donors, in 2019 gave $165,000 and $40,000 respectively, according to the Capital Research Center. In 2019, Soros’ Open Society Foundations donated $1.5 million to Living United “to support policy advocacy led by communities of color in Arizona.”
Living United last month campaigned for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs, Fox News reported.
The Kelly campaign and Living United did not respond to requests for comment.