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Public-Financing Success in Maine and Arizona
The 2000 Election Shows Clean Money Reform Works

A new kind of politics is beginning to take root in Maine and Arizona where candidates campaigned this year under the nation's first Clean Elections systems. Clean Election programs provide a level playing field by offering qualified candidates a limited and equal amount of public funds. It's a bold step forward in campaign finance reform, seeking to restore democracy and the principle of one person, one vote.

In Maine:

Broad participation
116 candidates out of 352 general election candidates opted into the Clean Election program. Thirty-two percent were incumbents. Almost half the races had at least one candidate running on full public financing.

More competition
Maine witnessed a 40 percent increase in the number of contested primaries and an overall increase in the number of women running for office this year. Many candidates say the program was key to their decision to run. (go to www.publicampaign.org for candidate profiles)

A liberated legislature
One-third of Maine's legislators will take office in January without any votes scrutinized because of who gave them big campaign contributors. In the Senate, 17 out of 35 members (49%) won their seats with full public financing. In the House, 45 out of 151 winners (30%) participated in the program.

Over half of the Clean Election candidates (54%) came out winners in the November election. In races that pitted Clean Election candidates against privately-funded opponents, Clean Election candidates won 53% of the time. As provided under the law, many candidates received supplemental matching funds, above and beyond their original state allotment, to keep pace with their opponent's spending.

100% approval rating
Candidates approve of the new system. In a survey conducted by the Maine Citizen Leadership Fund, 55% of candidates said they are "very satisfied" with the program and 45% said they are "reasonably satisfied" with the program so far.

In Arizona:

More competition
Arizona saw a big increase in the number of candidates for office, as the state ushered in its new public financing program. 214 people ran for office this year, compared to 135 people two years ago. 60 candidates ran under the Clean Election program.

Clean Elections proved decisive in some cases
Democrat Jay Blanchard pulled off an upset victory in a State Senate race over opponent Jeff Groscost, former Speaker of the House. Blanchard - an education professor and newcomer to legislative politics -- opted into the public finance program and ran a low-budget, grassroots campaign. He spent only one-fourth of the $100,000 spent by Groscost. The public financing gave Blanchard enough money to establish credibility and visibility just as voters became critical of Groscost for his role in a state budget fiasco.

Freedom from conflicts of interest
Regulatory commissioners serving on Arizona's three-person Corporation Commission, a statewide office with broad powers, will include two members elected without financial ties to the companies they regulate. Four of five Commission candidates ran with public funding, and two won.

Public Financing Wins
16 candidates were elected without ties to special interests or Big Money. Twelve will serve in the Arizona House of Representatives. Two will serve in the Senate.


For more information go to:


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[DemSouth logo]Democracy South : Improving Democracy : Maine & Arizona Success
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