That avalanche of political messages coming from your television or mailbox is tangible evidence of outside groups attempting to influence this region's congressional election.

They've spent $3.3 million on the First Congressional District race so far, Federal Election Commission data out this week shows, in attempting to persuade the public to vote for or against Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick or Republican Jonathan Paton.

For comparison, that spending by outside groups is more than Kirkpatrick and Paul Gosar raised themselves, combined, in seeking this office in 2010.

It's also more than Kirkpatrick and Sydney Hay raised in competing for this office in 2008.

And, to date, it is just less than Republican Rick Renzi and Democrat Ellen Simon raised in 2006 (with Election Day still 19 days away).

Spending from outside groups in this year's race includes:

-- $1.38 million from the National Republican Congressional Committee on advertising and surveys supportive of Paton and opposing Kirkpatrick

-- $1.16 million from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on ads opposing Paton

-- $442,115 from the American Future Fund, a conservative-leaning organization, on ads supporting Paton and opposing Kirkpatrick

-- $108,198 from Women Vote, or Emily's List, an organization that backs candidates who support keeping abortion legal, on ads opposing Paton


Paton had raised more than $951,000 as of Sept. 30, and spent $733,000 of it.

About 77 percent of his money had come from individuals, and another 19 percent had come from political groups.

His top contributor was Services Group of America, at $16,000 -- a privately held company whose former owner had petitioned Coconino County to allow him to commute via helicopter from Scottsdale to a ranch in Parks before dying in a helicopter crash in 2010.

Retirees, people working in the real estate or automotive industries, political leaders, and people working in the food or beverage industries were other major backers.


Kirkpatrick had raised $1.9 million as of Sept. 30, and spent $1.4 million of it.

Three-quarters of her money had come from individuals, and the remainder had come from political groups.

Her top contributor was Emily's List, at $55,463, an organization that attempts to elect female Democratic candidates who support keeping abortion legal.

Retired people, attorneys and law firms, political leaders and public unions were other major backers.

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