From today’s Daily Kos:
• AZ-Gov: The Republican Governors Association has made its first television ad reservations of the cycle, booking $20 million in four states. (The DGA has yet to make any.) Three of them are in exactly the sort of states you’d expect: Florida ($9.4 million), Nevada ($3.3 million), and Ohio ($4.3 million), each home to hotly contested open-seat races. The fourth is definitely a surprise, though: Arizona, where Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is seeking re-election. Ducey hasn’t looked especially vulnerable, and Arizona still leans red, but the RGA is nevertheless booking $3.4 million in TV time in the Grand Canyon State.
There are any number of explanations. For one, reservations are just that—they can always be cancelled—so the RGA might just be hedging its bets by locking in early rates. Alternately, they might be seeking some measure of insurance: Shore this race up sooner and they won’t have to worry about it later. There’s also the possibility, as with any major campaign committee, that particular donors have made it clear they want their money spent in particular ways, even if it might not represent the smartest investment.
Or, of course, the RGA could be genuinely concerned. It is 2018, after all, and Arizona will host an expensive and competitive Senate race—and perhaps more than one. What’s more, one of the two Democrats running for governor, former state education official David Garcia, released a poll from PPP last month that had him leading Ducey 43-42. (State Sen. Steve Farley was also close, trailing Ducey 42-39.) Garcia’s internals are the only polls we’ve ever seen of this race, but Republicans haven’t seen fit to counter them with superior numbers of their own, so it’s certainly possible there’s a real race to be had here.