“Concern should drive us into action, not into a depression.” -- Karen Horney

“For years, special interests and big money have had a negative effect on our local, state and national elections. Clean Elections changes that. In 1998, Arizonans voted for the Clean Elections Act and restored voter confidence in the electoral process. Clean Elections works well to overcome the influence of special interests. It gives Arizonans the power to create good government.”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), June 2002

In 1998, Arizona voters narrowly approved the Citizens Clean Elections Act despite opposition from entrenched special interests. It provides an equal and limited amount of public funds to qualifying candidates based on the costs of campaigning in Arizona for each office, and covers all state legislators and statewide offices.

The Clean Elections Act has been a resounding success with candidates and voters in Arizona. Though delayed by a court fight, it proved its value in the 2000 election, when it helped lead to a 58 percent increase in the number of candidates who ran for office. Almost a third of all legislative candidates ran “clean”.

In the 2002, Arizona’s Clean Elections system celebrated a clear victory, as the first ever publicly financed governor was elected, in addition to 38 other clean candidates.

Some of the other positive impacts:

Clean candidates won 7 out of 9 statewide offices: Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, 2 Corporation Commissioners, and Mine Inspector.

36% of Arizona’s legislature is made up of members elected clean.

Voter turnout increased by more than 20% over 1998 in districts where clean candidates ran.

There was a 64% increase in candidates running for statewide office over 1998.

The number of minority candidates tripled over 1998.


Despite such successes – or maybe because of them – opponents of Clean Money continue to attack Arizona’s system in the courts. So far, however, it has survived its major court tests, with the Arizona Supreme Court ruling 5-0 that it and its funding sources were constitutional.

Meanwhile, the Arizona public supports the Clean Elections Act more than ever, with overwhelming 66% support in a June 2002 poll.


Qualifying Candidates

Candidates qualify as Clean Elections candidates and receive public funds based on the costs of campaigning for their office by:

(1) Collecting a set number of $5 qualifying contributions from voters in their districts. The exact number of qualifying contributions required are:

Office Qualifying $5
Contributions Needed
Secretary of State, Attorney General:
Treasurer, Sup. Of Instruction, Corporation Commission
Mine Inspector:

(2) Renouncing any further campaign contributions.

Matching funds are granted if a clean candidate is outspent by a privately funded opponent, up to double the original grant.

Arizona Links

"Clean Elections Works!"
Clean Elections Institute of Arizona summary of impact on 2002 election

"Road to Victory"
Clean Elections Institute of Arizona detailed report on 2002 election (PDF)

Arizona's Clean Elections Institute

Arizona Clean Elections Act (Full text of 1998 initiative)

Arizona Clean Money Act Qualifying Contribution and Expenditure Limits

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