An election law change that raised Arizona's campaign contribution limits also provided candidates with an unwanted and apparently unintended surprise.
The Arizona Capitol Times reported Monday that surprise is a new requirement that candidates have separate campaign finance committees for primary and general elections.
Combined with a $2,000 limit on transfers between committees, that means candidates may have to commit their campaign dollars to one election or the other without yet knowing what the political landscape will look like months ahead.
That's according to guidance provided by the Secretary of State's Office about what the new law requires.
State Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said the separate-committee requirement isn't what he had in mind when he sponsored the legislation. He said the situation is "definitely a nightmare."
The law took effect Sept. 13, allowing statewide and legislative candidates to accept $2,500 from individual donors and $5,000 from some political committees. It would allow candidates to collect the maximum contribution twice — for the primary election and the general election.
Previously, individual contributions were capped at $1,010 for each statewide candidate and $488 for each legislative candidate in the primary and general elections combined.